Ducey, McCain pushing for more resources to end human trafficking
PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey and Cindy McCain are urging Arizonans to open their eyes to human trafficking.
Sen. John McCain’s widow once assumed “that a lot of these kids were possibly brought in from overseas, or Mexico.
“Not true,” she continued. “They’re domestic kids.”
The two spoke at the Phoenix Dream Center, which rescues victims of sex trafficking and slave labor.
McCain said Arizonans must look for warning signs of human trafficking, like malnourishment, physical abuse and unexplained absences from school.
Ducey said fighting trafficking involves fighting drugs.
“Oftentimes, these young people are brought into this service for the bad guys through the use of drugs, and through the scourge of addiction,” he said.
McCain and Ducey said 31,000 Arizonans have trained with state agencies to spot and report trafficking.
Survivors of human trafficking are finding a special kind of help to get their lives back together.
“Jade” was sex trafficked from ages 14 to 23.
“I ran away (from home) and got into the hands of my trafficker. He was 30 years old,” she said.
“I wasn’t aware of what it was I was getting into. He groomed me, and it just went south from there.”
Now 26, Jade made it to the Phoenix Dream Center where she got “trauma-informed care.” She is attending college and plans to attend a four-year university.
Director Brian Steele said the victims get higher degrees of compassion and acceptance at the center.
He said his organization can handle “things that, maybe, a normal shelter might not tolerate, like outbursts, hitting, yelling and cussing.”
The victims suffer night terrors and drug withdrawal from the sex trafficking they endured, he said.