Phoenix Task Force to Take Aim at Sex Trafficking During 2015 Super Bowl

Dec. 9, 2013

Greg Stanton, With Caption 137 x 225 pixelsMayor Greg Stanton has formed a task force of public officials, subject matter experts, law enforcement officials and community advocates to help the Valley combat sex trafficking as it prepares to host Super Bowl XLIX in February 2015.

With our region hosting the Super Bowl, there is an incredible occasion to achieve significant economic impact and showcase our Valley. With this opportunity comes a responsibility to ensure that our event is as safe as possible for everyone and especially to fight the human trafficking that all too often accompanies major sporting events.

“Public awareness is one of the most effective methods to fight human trafficking,” said Stanton. “Too often, traffickers operate in the shadows, and we’re not going to let that happen in Phoenix. This task force will shine a light on this issue so our community can host and enjoy a safe Super Bowl – one free from victimization and one we can all be proud of.”

Stanton anticipates that as the task force develops a “game plan” for a safe Super Bowl, it will meet four to six times over the next year to raise awareness, examine ways to discourage trafficking, and leverage the event to make constructive policy changes to permanently protect children in greater Phoenix from trafficking.

“I think we should do everything we can to prevent even one instance of this appalling crime during the Super Bowl and any other time,” said Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring, who will serve as the chairman of the Child Trafficking Task Force.

Other elements of the task force’s duty include:

  • Enhance regional law enforcement’s ability to identify and rescue victims.
  • Work to prevent child sex trafficking, through training at hotels, airlines, airports and other venues. Specifically, training workers how to recognize the signs of trafficking, where to report suspected trafficking, and how to connect victims with services.
  • Provide support to state-level legislative efforts to end child trafficking.
  • Assure that trafficking victims in crisis can find help.
  • Examine child safety best practices identified by prior host communities.

Task force members include:

  • Jim Waring, Phoenix City Councilman - Chair
  • Sara Suggs, CEO of O'Connor House - Co-chair
  • Pastor Jayne Baker, Ascension Lutheran Church
  • Nancy Baldwin, Executive Director Hickey Family Foundation
  • Angie Bayless, Fellow of Arizona TRUST (Training and Resources to Stop Trafficking)
  • Aarón Carreón-Aínsa, Phoenix City Prosecutor
  • Lt. Jim Gallagher, Phoenix Police Department Management Services Division
  • Debbie Johnson, CEO Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association
  • Cindi Nannetti, Director of Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Major Crimes II Division
  • Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, PhD faculty ASU School of Social Work
  • Cynthia Schuler, CEO Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development
  • Jackie Thompson, Southwest Airlines Community Affairs and Grassroots
  • Manager and Arizona Foundation for Women Board Chair
  • Kathleen Winn, Arizona Attorney General's Office Community Outreach Director

Media Contact:  Christian Palmer    602-534-6051