Tempe expands services to assist victims of human trafficking

Jan 31, 2024, 8:00 PM

Sign of information regarding human trafficking....

The city of Tempe bolstered its team dedicated to assisting victims of human trafficking with the addition of two new positions. AP File Photo)

PHOENIX —  The city of Tempe bolstered its team dedicated to assisting victims of human trafficking with the addition of two new positions.

Funded by a three-year federal grant, a human trafficking advocate will join the CARE 7 team in February and a human exploitation and trafficking detective was added to the Tempe Police Department, the city said in a press release on Tuesday.

The human trafficking advocate will also raise awareness in the community and the specialized detective will be able to proactively identify victims.

The addition of the two new positions is to increase outreach with community partners and to strengthen the city’s current efforts of ending human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is an epidemic that can affect anyone regardless of age, class, race or gender,” Tim Burch, Community Health and Human Services director, said in the release.

“By enhancing our services here in Tempe, we are helping strengthen a statewide initiative to ensure the most vulnerable residents are supported with advocacy and resources on their paths to a better future.”

Why is Tempe expanding services to victims of human trafficking?

The decision to expand services comes after the city’s Human Relations Commission, which works with city departments and the city council, recommended it train its workforce on how to stop human trafficking and become a CEASE (Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation) city.

So far, Tempe has trained at least 86% of its employees, achieving CEASE city designation.

As it stands, human trafficking victims and survivors are assisted at Tempe’s Family Advocacy Center that opened last year.

Some services visitors can find include emergency shelter, counseling and healing-centered care such as yoga.

Tempe Police made 52 sex trafficking-related arrests last year, as part of the a Super Bowl Operations Task Force that saw 90 arrests.

Anyone can report human trafficking by calling the Tempe Police Department’s non-emergency line at 480-350-8311 or the Arizona Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-877-4AZ-TIPS (29-8477).

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Tempe expands services to assist victims of human trafficking