YUMA, Ariz. – The sex trade, a crime hidden in the shadows most often using young girls for profit has claimed victims around the world and right here in the Desert Southwest. “It’s human slavery…It is going on in our local schools, where some recruitment is going on.”, says The Healing Journey CEO Estrella Fitch.
For victims in Yuma, they have been left without a group dedicated to help them but now The Healing Journey has stepped in to bring a new task force to the area with the sole purpose of fighting sex trafficking.
The Healing Journey says resources to fight human trafficking in Yuma have been limited for some time but with a new office and a new task force they are ready now more than ever to deal with the issue and help victims.
“We haven’t named it yet because we are having our very first meeting. We are working with the FBI on this and law enforcement officers.”, said Fitch. That meeting is the task force’s first and is set to be held sometime this week. The details of the meeting are very limited, we do not know the exact time or place which is to protect the victims.
Who are the people behind the shadows controlling the sex trafficking? Fitch says, “It’s going to be the drug cartels, it’s going to be gang members or could be almost anyone trying to make some extra money”
According to the FBI human sex trafficking is the fastest growing business for organized crime. The FBI estimates nearly 300,000 minors are at risk of being exploited into the sex trade. The mental health effects victims endure will definitely leave a lot of work ahead for the task force.
When we asked Fitch how the task force goes about helping someone that went through sex trafficking she said, “I think that listening to them first, accepting who they are because you can’t change a person…It takes so much more than one agency to solve an issue, Yuma is a great place we are starting something.”
If you are a victim of sex trafficking you can contact the task force for help at (928) 920-6220