Taking a stand against Human Trafficking

March 21, 2024
| by:
Councilmember Mark Stewart

Chandler has joined forces with other cities, police departments and nonprofits across the Valley to take a stand against human trafficking. We’re using state funding that equips police with technology and investigative resources to eradicate human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Your Mayor and Council are dedicated to supporting efforts that protect our community and our children.

Thanks to the efforts of State Representative Julie Willoughby last year, the Chandler Police Department is investing $2 million in technology and staff support for high-priority criminal cases.

This funding, coupled with city-led investment, is enabling us to hire investigators and latent print examiners to support police investigations for criminal cases, including Internet Crimes Against Children, human trafficking, cold case sex crimes, homicides and latent prints.  We’ve acquired software licenses to prevent and investigate Internet Crimes Against Children, and we’re purchasing a criminal justice video management system that enables secure file sharing for investigations.

I am a board member of two anti-human trafficking organizations, Not In Our City and CeCe's Hope Center. As part of my commitment to the cause, I toured our police headquarters to learn more about our focus.

During a recent tour, Interim Police Chief Melissa Deanda announced that Chandler is in the process of acquiring technology for a state-of-the-art crime center. The center will have a video wall as its focal point, which will display information from multiple police systems. The system will integrate with police radios to show the real-time location of officers, enabling greater visibility during police incidents. This will ultimately improve the safety of our officers on the street.

Chandler joined the Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network and, last year became a Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) Designated City. This group is dedicated to equipping cities across Arizona with essential tools and resources to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation effectively.

We achieved this designation because more than 75 percent of city employees completed comprehensive training on how to identify, report and prevent human trafficking crimes. This designation solidifies our dedication to safeguarding neighborhoods and our shared vision of an Arizona where no one is bought, sold or exploited.

Proper training is instrumental for residents to comprehend the challenges victims face, so we can transition from awareness to taking effective action. Visit the Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network for information about resources available to identify potential victims and those engaged in trafficking activities.

As you go about your day, if you see something that doesn’t seem right, report it to the Chandler Police Department. Be a good neighbor by reporting who or what you saw, when you saw it, where it occurred and why it’s suspicious.

Call or text 9-1-1 to report emergencies. Call or text 480-782-4130 to report non-emergencies. Anonymous tips, including images and video, can be submitted to Chandler Police via the “submit a tip” link or mobile app at ChandlerAZPD.gov.

Your Mayor and Council are committed to public safety and equipping the men and women of our police force with the tools they need to be the best-in-class organization that they are and keep our community as safe as possible.

Together, we can make a difference in the fight against Human Trafficking.