SALT LAKE CITY January 10, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Last night, the Utah Attorney General’s Office in partnership with Refugee & Immigrant Center-Asian Association of Utah, and Engage Now Africa hosted Dr. Kevin Bales, professor, author, social scientist, and human rights activist as the Ambassador Price & Marcia Price World Affairs Lecture Series guest in January.
Following AG Reyes statement you will find a list of individuals who are available for comment on this topic for interested media throughout the month. The individuals are organized according to the area upon which they are most qualified to comment.
“We will continue the fight to eradicate the tragedy of human trafficking in Utah and beyond our borders,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes. “As we recognize National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month throughout January, Utah is poised to continue as a leader nationally and globally against the scourge of human trafficking. With a grant from the federal government, the Utah Trafficking In Persons (UTIP) Task Force focuses on a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach to ending human trafficking in our state. UTIP’s interdisciplinary, multi-agency approach has made Utah a leader against human trafficking, taking down predators in their tracks and liberating victims.
“It is critical every American understands that human trafficking can be found in any community — rural or urban, wealthy or modest. It does not discriminate by wealth or station in its victimization of people of all backgrounds. We must protect our youth and other vulnerable citizens.
“We thank the citizens of Utah for raising their voices to educate the world about this epidemic. We thank legislators and other public officials, law enforcement leaders, victim advocates, physicians, businesses, media partners, and so many others for allocating scarce resources to the fight against modern slavery.
“We also recognize Utah organizations such as Fahodie & Friends, Backyard Broadcast and the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to Operation Underground Railroad and Fight the New Drug along with sundry other groups and individuals who educate the public, liberate victims and heal survivors of these atrocities.
“Utah thanks international partners like Polaris Project, the Trafficking in America Taskforce, Engage Now Africa, Airline Ambassadors, Truckers Against Trafficking, Halleh Seddighzadeh, PhD, of ARMAN, and so many others for their dedication to combating trafficking.
“The eradication of human trafficking should be a priority for all who value virtue and freedom. As a humanitarian issue, ending human trafficking transcends political and ideological differences. It is critical for Utah and all states to work even more closely with law enforcement, various first responders, and the communities who come in contact with human trafficking victims to combat modern-day slavery.
“I am very grateful for the hard and often unsung work by law enforcement investigators, both in the AGO and from our sister agencies, working hand-in-hand to surveil and bring down traffickers, as well as for the lawyers and support staff who prosecute the perpetrators. We will not rest until human trafficking is ended.”
The following individuals are available for comment for stories on modern slavery and human trafficking during National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month.
Russell Smith – Utah Attorney General’s Office
SECURE Section Director
Nate Mutter – Utah Attorney General’s Office
Dr. Kathy Franchek – University of Utah School of Medicine
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Dr. Corey Rood – University of Utah/Center for Safe & Healthy Families, Primary Children’s Hospital
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Elizabeth Hendrix – Refugee & Immigrant Center
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