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Feds are helping Arizona fight human trafficking

PHOENIX — The federal government is pitching in to help an Arizona organization fight human trafficking.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has given a $90,000 grant to Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles.

Most of the money will go towards staffing, while a portion will go towards awareness campaigns.

“It’s my hope that through education and public awareness, victims of sex trafficking will more readily be identified and otherwise feel safer coming forward to report their circumstances and perpetrators,” Voyles said.

“A lot of these girls don’t realize they’re actually being trafficked,” he said. “They believe that they’re in a relationship with a boyfriend and that boyfriend wants them to do these things, not realizing that, in fact, they’re being trafficked.”

The center is one of 18 organizations throughout the nation to receive the federal grant.

“This is a grant given to our office and entrusted to actually go out and help identify, train and build coalitions and public awareness on sex trafficking,” Voyles said.