Most Utah residents would describe the state as beautiful, safe and family oriented. With lower than average crime rates and a bustling housing market, what could be wrong with our magnificent state? As a young female college student pursuing a degree in social work, my hope is to enlighten others of the injustices that are occurring among us; an emerging issue that is happening right under our noses is the expanding human trafficking crisis within our state.
Interstate 15 is a straight shot connecting many major cities and states, which allows easy access for drug transportation and human trafficking; each raking in approximately $30 billion dollars annually nationwide. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, in 2018 they received 184 contacts involving human trafficking within Utah, and the numbers continue to soar.
Although Utah has several programs in place to assist in the issue, they cannot do it alone. The public can make the greatest difference in saving lives of victims by educating themselves and others. Victims and those close to them often believe that it could never occur in their lives, however each victim is a friend, sister and daughter. As a community we must be aware of the signs and report each suspicion; no report is too little when it involves saving a life.
If you suspect an individual is a victim, please contact the Utah Human Trafficking Tipline at 801-200-3443. Visit Polarisproject.org to learn more about the signs and preventions you can take in ending human trafficking.