After learning about the successes of sister organization Nevadans for the Common Good (NCG) in better protecting young people from sex-trafficking, VIP and Arizona Interfaith Network leaders began hearing similar stories about minors targeted for human trafficking and how Arizona had become a major hub for the human trafficking industry. This became even more important with Phoenix hosting the upcoming 2015 Super Bowl, an event notorious for attracting the sex trade.
VIP organized a series of Civic Academies at local congregations where guest legislators spoke publicly for the first time to large audiences who were incredulous to learn that needed legislation to assist law enforcement had been bottled up repeatedly in the house judiciary committee. These sessions galvanized a renewed effort throughout Metro Phoenix to protect vulnerable children and victims of human trafficking.
VIP became an early supporter for legislation increasing minimum penalties for sex trafficking of minors and worked with a number of key allies in law enforcement, business, and the non-profit sector to push for HB 2454, which would more than double the penalty for a child-prostitution conviction from 10 years to 24 years in prison, and make pimping a racketeering offense. Governor Jan Brewer signed the legislation last year.
In photo, Rabbi John Linder, Rev. Jayne Baker, Rev. Martha Seaman, Carolyn Jean Jones, Canon Ray Dugan and VIP Vice-President Dave Ryan stand with Governor Jan Brewer and Cindy McCain at the bill signing.
State’s Anti-Trafficking Law Called a Model, Jewish News