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Arizona crackdown on human trafficking goes into effect

PHOENIX — One of the nation’s toughest laws against human trafficking went into effect in Arizona on Thursday.

The law increases penalties for johns, protects victims and adds child prostitution, sex and labor trafficking to the list of acts considered racketeering.

“Whether you come from across the country or down the street, women and girls in Arizona are not for sale,” said Glendale Police Chief Debbie Black.

The law was signed with the upcoming Super Bowl in mind, an event that typically sees a spike in prostitution — adult and child alike.

“This is a proud and significant day for Arizona, particularly for those who have been personally affected by the horrendous crime of human trafficking,” said Gov. Jan Brewer after signing the law in April. “There is much more work to be done in our fight to eliminate this atrocious modern-day slavery, but in signing this legislation and implementing critical measures, we take another good step forward in the right direction.”

A new public advertising campaign also began Thursday. It features the slogan behind the law, “In Arizona, we’re not buying it.”

“As for the excuses you’ve gotten away for years, if not decades, in Arizona, we’re not buying it,” said Black.

The law also requires escort and massage therapy businesses to include their license number in all advertising.