Chandler Joins Fight Against Human Trafficking

Dec. 6, 2023

CHANDLER, Ariz. – The City of Chandler was recognized during the Dec. 4th City Council meeting by the Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network for becoming a Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) Designated City, highlighting the collective efforts to eradicate human trafficking and sexual exploitation within Arizona.

“We’re proud to achieve this designation and join the network of cities working together to combat human trafficking by empowering our employees to identify these incidents and take action,” said Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke.

CEASE, a program under the umbrella of the Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network (AATN), is dedicated to equipping cities across Arizona with essential tools and resources to effectively combat sexual exploitation.

“We extend our appreciation to the City of Chandler for its commitment to this vital cause,” said AATN's President and Board Chair, John Meza. “This collaboration marks a crucial step forward in the fight against human trafficking and we look forward to our continued partnership in building CEASE communities across Arizona.”

Chandler achieved this designation by having more than 75% of city employees successfully complete comprehensive training and committing to ongoing, updated training on an annual basis. CEASE training has been incorporated into the onboarding process for all new Chandler employees, solidifying a continuous focus on this critical subject matter.

The designation recognizes Chandler's commitment to fostering a safer and more secure environment for all its residents, aligning with the shared vision of an Arizona where no one is bought, sold or exploited.

This strategic move reinforces the city's dedication to cultivating an environment that safeguards its neighborhoods and stands united against exploitation.

“Training is the cornerstone of our mission,” said Meza. “It is through education and awareness that we empower people to become vigilant, empathetic and active in the fight against human trafficking.”

One of the pivotal components of the CEASE designation is its training curriculum. City employees are often in the best position to observe potential trafficking. This program is specifically crafted to educate city employees on how to identify, report and prevent human trafficking crimes. Participating in this training not only enhances the awareness of employees but also serves as an invaluable asset for the broader community, including parents and caregivers.

Trafficking can vary depending upon the area and venue in which the crime is occurring. Inaccurate information about trafficking can lead to a diminished ability to identify potential victims and those engaged in trafficking activities.

Proper training is instrumental in enabling residents to comprehend the challenges faced by victims and to equip both employees and the public to transition from awareness to taking effective action against it.

To date, the CEASE program has trained over 7,500 municipal employees statewide. City governments or departments can request free training, information or assistance through the Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network.