Arizona is often mentioned as a place full of drug crime stemming from Mexican cartels and the mob, but what's less known is that it's also a state that's a hub for sex trafficking, particularly of minors. Some of this sleazy business is due to our border proximity; a lot is also the result of the region's popular tourism and sporting attractions.
It's no secret that tourist sites and sporting events are magnets for prostitution. HuffPo revealed last year that the Super Bowl is the "single largest human trafficking incident in the U.S." Or Google "sex trafficking tourism," and you'll find publications, law enforcement programs, conferences and research studies devoted to stamping out child prostitution in the hospitality industry. However, even though child trafficking remains big business in the Grand Canyon State, retired Mesa police officer Bill Richardson says Arizona legislators lob a lot of red meat about border crime, but they ignore the selling of our children.
While the public’s anti-crime focus is kept on the border and billions and billions of dollars are spent to intercept illegal aliens and drugs—to questionable success—organized criminal activities continue to flourish on our city streets. Human trafficking whether it is for sweatshops or the sex trade has always been a major profit center for organized crime. East Valley TribuneIf Arizona is a hotbed of child prostitution, why would Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, who presents himself as a Republican family values man, a Mormon and a husband with seven children, not even allow a popular bipartisan bill that addresses the issue to be heard on the House floor? Other Republicans like Cindy McCain, wife of Arizona Sen. John McCain, are scratching their heads as well:
The recent unwillingness of Arizona House Judiciary Chairman Eddie Farnsworth to schedule a hearing for House Bill 2569 shines a direct and disturbing light on the problem of human trafficking in Arizona. By refusing to schedule a hearing, he effectively killed a bill that was a small step but a step in the right direction of protecting our children from human trafficking.More sordid stuff over the hump.
HB 2569 would close the loophole for children who are victims of sexual predators, being bought for sex, who are 15, 16 and 17. Current Arizona law allows predators of children in this age group to be treated differently—less harshly—than those who sexually buy and abuse children under the age of 15. Arizona Republic
As McCain says, HB 2569 mandated a steeper penalty for pimps who exploit girls and boys who are 15 to 17 years old. According to Shared Hope, which works to eliminate sex trafficking, the average age that a child is forced into prostitution in Phoenix is 14. For those cases, Arizona's law is tough, but not if the victims are one year older. Currently, the penalty is a veritable slap on the wrist, maybe 90 days, for anyone who sells 15 year-old girls to perverts in town for the Fiesta Bowl or Phoenix Open.
The anti-trafficking bill was bipartisan in design and Republican in its legislative strategy, since the GOP controls the House, Senate and Governor's seat. The offices of Republican AG Tom Horne and Democratic Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton took the lead, the bill's main sponsor was Republican Rep. John Allen, and 15 Republicans signed on as cosponsors. According to New Times, who interviewed Mayor Stanton's aide Jodi Liggett, the committee that worked on the bill "included prosecutors, researchers, academics, and cops from the Phoenix Police Department's vice squad."
"We had everybody and their cousin on that joint committee," Liggett said. "And we reached a consensus that closing this loophole would be a good first step for Phoenix and Arizona to take, making it a more hostile environment here for traffickers."Understandably, law officials are puzzled and frustrated that Rep. Farnsworth didn't even permit the bill to be heard, as are the bill's sponsors from Farnsworth's own party. However, Stephen Lemons at New Times says this is not the first time Farnsworth has blocked a sex trafficking bill introduced by a GOP colleague:
In 2011, Republican Representative Doris Goodale attempted to beef up the same law. Her bill was not heard by the committee, even though she, like Allen, sits on it. Farnsworth was the chair in 2011, as well.It's stretching credibility to assume Rep. Farnsworth is sympathetic to pimps, johns and sex offenders because he has a nephew serving 30 years for raping a 12-year-old girl. Nor should we even dignify the voices who draw a connection between Farnsworth's LDS faith and the Fundamentalist Mormon tradition of raping young girls, even if that's an awful reality.
But WTF?! If Rep. Farnsworth didn't like the measure, for whatever warped reason, he could've allowed the bill to be heard and his objections would be noted. Otherwise, this states-rights peckerhead, who was one of recalled Sen. Russell Pearce's SB 1070 cronies, should STFU about "dangerous" Mexican kids who come here to wash cars and flip burgers. The cops and prosecutors know where there's real crime, disgusting crime perpetrated against children, and Farnsworth isn't helping. His constituents should demand an explanation, which he's failed to give to the media and colleagues.
What is it about these GOP anti-immigrant buttfaces and sex crimes committed against children? First Sheriff Joe Arpaio failed to prosecute more than 400 sex crimes that were turned over to his office and now this. Sick!