Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tracking the Tricked: Police Join the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 9:55 AM

click image MIKE CHRISTY FOR ARIZONA DAILY STAR 2014
  • Mike Christy for Arizona Daily Star 2014

The Southern Arizona Anti-Trafficking Unified Response Network task force, known as SAATURN, received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to research, track and combat human trafficking in Tucson for three years. The grant and task force began in October 2015.

Tucson Police Department is one of three grantees for this task force, joining CODAC Health, Recovery and Wellness and the University of Arizona’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women.

Detective Jennifer Crawford has been investigating violent crime for nearly 17 years, and currently works in TPD's Street Crime Interdiction Unit—the unit responsible for studying human trafficking in Tucson.

Crawford said events like the Gem Show or large sporting events can draw more trafficking activity because the exploitative industry tends to "follow the money" and crowded events can attract an influx of trafficking of girls from other cities.

She said one of the main ways police keep tabs on trafficking is through online sites such as Backpage, where third-party contributors, such as escorts, can sell "dates."

The money from the grant allocated for TPD is spent on operational equipment as well as training and outreach programs, according to Crawford. The Street Crime Interdiction Unit is comprised of four detectives and two federal agents, and grant money will also be spent on funding the team's investigative hours should they have to work overtime.

"They help support us and we're able to do a lot more than we used to and also work at a federal level if we need to," Crawford said.

Crawford said trafficking tends to be a harder crime to prosecute than others. Reasons being victims can be hesitant to disclose information and it can be difficult to keep victims on track during an unfortunately tedious court process.

"I'd say we've definitely made a lot of strides and we've moved forward a lot in the last year since we've gotten our task force up and running and with our support service people as well," Crawford said.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Previously in the Range

More by Jessica Suriano

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Saturday Tour & Tasting

Saturday Tour & Tasting @ Hamilton Distillery

Saturdays, 3-5 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

Staff Pick

James G. Davis (1931-2016): Down at the Tower Bar, A Retrospective

Celebrating the career of Tucson artist James G. Davis with a selection of paintings and prints made… More

@ Etherton Gallery Sat., Sept. 9, 7-10 p.m. and Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Nov. 11 135 S. Sixth Ave.

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. The Weekly List: 21 Things To Do In Tucson In The Next 10 Days (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. New TV Ad Asks McCain To Stop Latest GOP Healthcare Disaster (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Quick Bites: Mister Bing, Milkshakes and Mysteries (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. New TSO Director Kicks Off A New Season (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Wildcats Can Suit Up And Save (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation