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Arizona hotel employees trained on how to spot sex trafficking

(KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)

PHOENIX — On Wednesday, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, in conjunction with the Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network and Homeland Security Investigations, launched a new training for hospitality staff at hotels on how to identify, report and prevent sex trafficking.

The training is part of the Safeguarding All From Exploitation Action Project, a free program designed for tourism industry professionals.

This past summer, SAFE provided similar training for the Transportation Security Administration, American Airlines and Sky Harbor employees.

More than 20 employees at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale were taught about sex trafficking and the exploitation that comes along with it.

Members from the AG’s office told stories of minors who have experienced sex trafficking in Arizona, as well as the different types of trafficking that goes on with special events that are held in town bringing the crimes to hotels.

“Maybe she’s looking down, maybe someone overhears like ‘hey don’t be talking to anyone,'” Lucia Arteaga with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office said. “They don’t have any identification, maybe they’re checking in and can’t tell where they came from or where they’re currently at.”

During the first hotel training, informational packets were handed out that included warning signs for hotel employees to keep an eye out for when it comes to housekeeping, the front desk and security.

“We are committed to doing everything possible to stop this horrific crime that is happening around us,” Senior Vice President of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association Karen Cahn added. “We need to provide the tools necessary to bring awareness to this crime to save victims, even if it’s one at a time, as well as to protect our hotel partners from being victims themselves unknowingly.”

Other hotels expected to receive the training include The Sanctuary, Mountain Shadows and Hotel Valley Ho.

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