SALT LAKE CITY — Marches were held in Salt Lake City, St. George, Logan and Orem to commemorate World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, a day created by the United Nations to raise awareness of human trafficking.
“Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims,” the UN writes.
This year’s marches were held in order to celebrate workers who are on the front lines of the fight and focusing on those front-line workers who, “are the people who work in different sectors – identifying, supporting, counseling and seeking justice for victims of trafficking, and challenging the impunity of the traffickers.”
Thursday’s event at Town Square Park in St. George was attended by Founder of Operation Underground Railroad Tim Ballard and Attorney General Sean Reyes who were greeted by an estimated 3,000 people. Reyes told the gathered crowd that Utah has become the tip of the spear in the fight against human trafficking.
“The state of Utah had a failing grade from Shared Hope International in the fight against human trafficking, a straight ‘F’,” Reyes told the crowd as reported by the St. George News.
“I’m so proud to let you all know that last year, for the first time, Utah had an A grade. Utah has become the tip of the spear not just in the nation, but around the world in fighting human trafficking. ”
“We’ve got to keep our kids safe by understanding the threat and how predators get to our kids,” Ballard said. “Parents are the first line of defense; parents need to educate,” Ballard said.
Utah has a trafficking tip line provided by the Attorney General’s Office that can be reached at 801-200-3443.
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