TUCSON, Ariz. — The Tucson Police Department says an investigation into a recent spike in sex trafficking cases here in Tucson involving kids and adults is underway.
According to Tucson Police Sex Trafficking Detective Jennifer Crawford, there were over a dozen cases last month involving young people in multiple categories.
Crawford also says they're seeing both old and new faces on local escort websites.
"With our juveniles, we have definitely seen an uptick in reports that have come in the last couple of months. Particularly with runaways or youth in general that are meeting potential predators online. I had a tally of about 15 cases involving just minors that came across my desk due to sex trafficking concerns or red flags that people were seeing," Crawford said.
In 2019, federal funding was used to investigate trafficking cases, but that has since ended, causing the department to shift its resources.
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"We’re really trying to make people aware with the spike in our youth cases. Letting them know what’s going on out there how these predators are online because kids are online so much right now,” Crawford said.
Detective Crawford and others also held a statewide webinar about trafficking last month with over 375 attendees. We're told the department will provide training in the community upon request. The next webinar is in late October.
To request online sex trafficking training, visit sacasa.org.