An Arizona public-information campaign sponsored by Clear Channel features billboards educating on human trafficking.

An Arizona public-information campaign sponsored by Clear Channel features billboards educating on human trafficking.

If you drive through the Valley of the Sun, you may have spotted a number of billboards that highlight the tragedy of human trafficking.

Sponsored by Clear Channel Outdoor, the signs were touted earlier this month by new Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who (with Cindy McCain) unveiled an anti-human trafficking campaign. You can read more about the Clear Channel partnership here.

According to a press release:

“These efforts to raise awareness about human trafficking come just weeks before the Super Bowl comes to town. The influx of fans serves as an opportunity for traffickers, but also for law enforcement to seek the public’s help in combating this terrible crime.”

“The United States Department of Justice considers Phoenix one of the top human trafficking areas in the country. Most victims are forced into sex trafficking before they are 15 years old.”

“While the spotlight of the nation’s largest sporting event is on Arizona, Brnovich intends to make it clear that his office will be ramping up efforts to end this crime against humanity.” “‘Enslaving innocent children for sexual exploitation and profit is despicable,’ said Brnovich. ‘This type of crime against some of our most vulnerable must never be tolerated.’”

(More from the release is at the bottom of this post.)

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorLawyers who seek more information on the challenges faced by these crimes might want to attend a State Bar CLE on January 27. It is titled “Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery in Arizona.”

As it’s described:

“This program will focus on the growing trend of human trafficking in Arizona and throughout our country. With the Super Bowl planned for February 1, 2015 in Glendale, this topic is more relevant than ever. Attendees will have an eye-opening experience to hear from a victim of childhood trafficking.

Topics:

  • Overview of what human trafficking is.
  • Discussion about the prevalence of human trafficking nationally, in Arizona, and surrounding the Super Bowl, including statistics and several real world case examples.
  • Overview of some of the common signs and indicators surrounding human trafficking.
  • Discussion about the recent federal Arizona District Court decision enjoining Arizona’s Human Smuggling law, and the implications of that decision on other Arizona anti-human trafficking laws.
  • Overview of federal immigration programs that may permit the victims of human trafficking to remain in the country while assisting in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking offenses.
  • Overview of other Arizona criminal laws that may be implicated in a human trafficking situation.
  • Discussion about some of the other available resources on the topic of human trafficking.

The instructors are:

  • Bill Hughes, Chief Criminal Deputy for Yavapai County, Arizona, and a past President of the Yavapai County Bar Association
  • Arizona Justice Ann A. Scott Timmer
  • Carolyn Jones, a speaker on the topic of sex trafficking

You can get more information and register here.

And here is the rest of the Attorney General’s release:

“General Brnovich has hired Zora Manjencich to coordinate anti-human trafficking efforts for the Attorney General’s Office. Manjencich spent nine years at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office handling high- profile sex crimes in the East Valley. She tried and convicted a child predator who was featured on ‘America’s Most Wanted’ and earned the Crime Victims’ Rights Special Award.”

“Cindy McCain believes Brnovich’s presence at the event will highlight his commitment to thwarting human trafficking in Arizona, just three days into his term.”

“‘Mark and I have discussed this issue in depth and I know he is committed to aggressively prosecuting those who dare to traffic our children for sex,’ said McCain. ‘I am grateful for his commitment and look forward to working with him in the coming years to stop trafficking in our state.’”

8 play by Dustin Lance Black in AZAn Arizona production of a nationally recognized play will be staged next Tuesday, May 7, and include a cast of leading residents, including at least three attorneys. As of April 11, three local attorneys had agreed to perform: Bill Sheppard, Nicole Stanton and Grant Woods. Others who were slated include Cindy McCain.

The play, titled “8,” was written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, and it “chronicles the historic federal trial challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage.” A ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court is expected in late June.

A play written about a court case? Well, it’s in good company (try To Kill a Mockingbird, Inherit the Wind and 12 Angry Men, for starters).

Tickets are $50 and $35 and can be purchased through the Arizona Theatre Company or Ticketmaster. As organizers say, “Following the performance, there will be a short discussion between Black, others and the audience on the issues presented in the trial.”

You can read more about the play here.

In a New York Times story, the writer described the play and his process:

“The play consists mostly of verbatim dialogue and statements from the trial transcript, [writer Dustin Lance] Black said, as well as his own observations from sitting in the courtroom most days and interviewing people on both sides of the case.”

“Roughly a dozen people from the trial are portrayed as characters, including Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, the lawyers for the two gay couples who sued California over the ban; Charles J. Cooper, the lead defense counsel; Kristin M. Perry and Sandra B. Stier, a lesbian couple who were among the plaintiffs; and the judge, Vaughn R. Walker of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California.”

“Mr. Black, who won an Oscar in 2009 for his original screenplay about the life and assassination of Harvey Milk, a gay man on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, said he became determined to write the play after the United States Supreme Court blocked the trial judge’s plan to broadcast the hearings over the Internet.”

And here is how the producers describe the legally based play:

Dustin Lance Black Prop 8 play

Dustin Lance Black

“‘8’—a new play by Academy-award winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk, J. Edgar)—demystifies the debate around marriage equality by chronicling the landmark trial of Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Hollingsworth v. Perry). Learn about the historical context of marriage from expert testimony. See the human cost of discrimination. Uncover the arguments used to justify bans on marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Using the actual court transcripts from the landmark federal trial of California’s Prop. 8 and firsthand interviews, ‘8’ shows both sides of the debate in a moving 90-minute play.”

“The Arizona production of ‘8’ announced the addition of five leading Valley residents to the cast.  Local actor Damon Bolling, producer/singer David Burrola, former TV news anchor Marlene Galan, former State Representative Steve May and Phoenix attorney and arts advocate Bill Sheppard will join the previously announced cast members for the May 7 presentation of ‘8’ at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix.”

“Previous cast members announced include Black, Tony-nominated Broadway actor Rory O’Malley, CNN and ESPN commentator LZ Granderson and LGBT activist and AIDS Memorial Quilt creator Cleve Jones. Arizonans in the cast include business and community leader Cindy McCain, attorney and Phoenix First Lady Nicole Stanton, radio and TV personality Pat McMahon, former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, State Senator Jack Jackson Jr. and Phoenix City Councilman Tom Simplot.”

“‘8’ will be produced by the Arizona Theatre Company (ATC) and directed by Matthew Wiener, Producing Artistic Director of Actors Theatre-Phoenix. Former Tempe mayor and current San Francisco AIDS Foundation Chief Executive Officer Neil Giuliano is the executive producer.”

Again, here is the ticket information, through the Arizona Theatre Company or Ticketmaster.

Follow the Arizona production of “8” on Facebook.

Have a great weekend.