As we move into 2021, I want all parents, students, and educators to know that the Arizona Attorney General’s Office is here to support you in providing a safe and informed environment for our youth. Accordingly, our Community Outreach and Education team has prioritized ways to communicate as we all continue to manage the challenges of COVID-19.
Our office has expanded online accessibility to the programs typically provided in person at Arizona’s schools. Community Outreach coordinators are also now available virtually and can provide live presentations to classrooms or work with faculty to help students access pre-recorded presentations that can be viewed anytime on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device. Educational program topics include Internet Safety, Opioid Awareness, Vaping and E-cigarettes, Anti-Bullying, Human Trafficking, Consumer Protection, and Suicide Awareness and Prevention.
Of special note, January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month so we are highlighting our frequently requested prevention program. Human trafficking is a difficult topic for families to discuss, but sadly it is a significant issue in our state that cannot be ignored.
Based on data gathered by the U.S. State Department, Arizona is a prime transit destination area for both sex and labor trafficking in the United States. While some may believe that the victims of human trafficking have come from outside Arizona, or even outside the United States, we know that many of these victims are actually from our local communities. With the average age of sex trafficking victims being 14 in the State of Arizona, our sons, daughters, nieces and nephews are the prime targets for these predators. The good news is that there are effective steps we can take as parents and guardians to help prevent this from happening to a loved one.
The Human Trafficking presentation provided by Community Outreach coordinators is available for students in grades 7-12, parents, teachers, and the general public. This hour-long program describes human trafficking and how the perpetrators use social media and other tactics to find and entrap their victims. It also provides precious insight about the warning signs to look for, examples of trafficking incidents that happened in Arizona, and the best ways to report suspected activity. I encourage all Arizonans to be a part of the solution by educating themselves and their families. If you are concerned someone you know may be a victim of human trafficking, you can call 911 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
Finally, along with the array of informational presentations our office has developed grade-appropriate assignments to support students, teachers, and parents. Students, after watching a live or pre-recorded presentation, can complete an assignment for their teachers or parents to ensure comprehension of the material.
I wish you and your family a safe and joyful year in 2021.
Arizona Attorney General