New human trafficking law: victim speaks out about tougher laws

July 24, 2014
Fox 10
Mia Garcia

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - It's estimated that there are 100,000 victims of sex trafficking in the United States.

A new Arizona law goes into effect to help stop human trafficking, or the use of force to coerce someone into having sex for money.

A former victim spoke out in support of the law.

"I'm a perfect example of it happening here, I wasn't kidnapped and taken across borders," said Savannah Sanders.

A victim of human trafficking brought to Phoenix when she was 16 more than a decade ago.

"We were often taught by the men and women who trafficked us that we needed to run from the police and social services... and the person waiting for us outside the jail were the pimps themselves," she said.

Savannah Sanders says a lot has changed for her in the past 10 years. She's now a mother of four and has a college degree.

Sanders spoke at a press conference with Phoenix Vice-Mayor Jim Waring, members of the Governor's office, and several valley police departments.

"This is to make sure human trafficking isn't acceptable anywhere, in any town, anyplace in the State of Arizona," said Jim Waring.

To help spread the message they're releasing a public service announcement featuring Cardinal's player Kurt Warner and his wife Brenda.

A second PSA will hit the airwaves with Diamondback's CEO Derrick Hall and Suns President Jason Rowley.

The new law increases penalties against traffickers and creates new rules for escort services and massage therapists.

"It requires licensed massage therapists and escort services to display their license numbers in their advertisements," said Jamie Bennett.

It's also a felony for a child to be in one of those ads. The vice-mayor says it's not just big sporting events like the Super Bowl when the community needs to be on the alert. He says it's a year-round effort.

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