4 Matching Annotations
- Sep 2018
Foreigners, like children, are among the most vulnerable groups in the population. The trafficker will often prey on these groups and deploy tactics that make their victims feel dependent on them in one way or another.
Traffickers prey on the weak and vulnerable. They use tactics that decrease their independence, placing the vulnerable in the middle of a vicious cycle.
Examples of human trafficking can be found everywhere, but only if members of Utah's local communities know what to look for. At a Motel 6 in Taylorsville, one manager attended a training (provided by the hotel) about human trafficking. Once he returned, he became suspicious of a couple of occupants and was able to tip law enforcement off to a trafficker who had been prostituting two women out of his hotel room.
Just because it isn't seen doesn't mean it isn't there. Education is a great way to increase awareness of signs and allows us to be one step closer to decreasing this social issue.
"What I think surprises people most about human trafficking in Utah is that it actually happens here," Smith said. "We have cases from all over the state from Duchesne County to the Wasatch Front to Ogden — it doesn't matter the size of the county. We have it." Smith said, nationwide, 87 percent of the population believes human trafficking is a problem, but only 23 percent believe it happens in their own communities.
Issues that might not "hit close to home" are still valid and important issues; especially human trafficking within our own community.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, of the nearly 25,000 runaways that were reported in 2017, 1 in 7 were likely victims of child sex trafficking. If you think those numbers are high, consider that, according to Smith, 75 percent of the human trafficking cases in Utah involve adult victims. Oftentimes, individuals are trafficked as children but become adults by the time law enforcement gets involved, he said.
Human trafficking and prostitution can be linked to other social issues, such as runaway children- unfortunately when the cycle has begun, some of those children continue with prostitution and become part of the statistic that we read about here.