SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) Human trafficking in Utah is real and the attorney general’s office along with several state task forces say they’re doing everything in their power to stop it.
A press conference was held at the state Capitol Thursday to shine a light on recent arrests and investigations going on in our state.
The message was this is real every day people are trafficked in and out of Utah every day, children are being exploited and that people are coming into our state to commit these types of crimes.
Reyes along with police chiefs and investigators from across the state made the announcement that just since January 1 they’ve made 16 arrests for people either involved in child pornography or human trafficking.
“We are for a state our size probably making more arrests and more prosecutions than the average state the size of Utah ,” said Chief Leo Lucey, Chief Criminal Investigator with Utath Attorney General’s Office.
These arrests came from investigations within local police departments as well as investigations from state task forces like the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, Utah Trafficking In Person Task force and the Secure Strike Task force.
The 16 people arrested are facing charges such as rape of a child, sexual exploitation of a minor, enticing a minor over the Internet and other child porn charges.
“Utah is not a playground for predators and if they do pray on our children we will get them and with that we’re going to use every means we can to find these people who are manufacturing child porn, who are sexually exploiting kids, by selling them or meeting up with or adults who are selling kids,” said Jessica Farnsworth, Utah Commander.
Attorney General Reyes says there’s another problem in Utah that the legislature is currently trying to tackle. It’s called re-homing.
Where parents of adopted children for some reason can’t or don’t want to care for the child anymore and hand them off to other sometimes even putting an add out on the Internet for someone to take their child.
As you can imagine some people that are picking up these children don’t always have the best intentions.
“There are cases where traffickers, pimps, and predator and abusers have been able to get their hands on children from families who are overwhelmed and frustrated,” said Reyes.
Representative Merrill Nelson is sponsoring that bill, HB 199, it would make it illegal for people to re-home adoptive children.