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.’”

In what has become an annual tradition, on Wednesday, the Arizona Women Lawyers Association hosted a debate of the candidates for Arizona Attorney General. Held at the University Club in Phoenix, it featured a packed-to-the-gills room, candidates committed to their goals, and organizers who were committed to: (1) a value-packed event and (2) getting people out on time.

Organizers succeeded on both counts. The candidates? Well, attendees may each have had their own favorites.

AWLA Arizona Women Lawyers Association logoThe format was composed of 10-minute candidate statements, followed by 10-minute rebuttals, and finally audience question. The candidates are Republican Mark Brnovich and Democrat Felecia Rotellini.

Rather than give a blow-by-blow, let me share a few of the candidates’ main points.

Mark Brnovich speaks at the debate of Arizona Attorney General candidates at a forum sponsored by the Arizona Women Lawyers Association, Sept. 24, 2014.

Mark Brnovich speaks at the debate of Arizona Attorney General candidates at a forum sponsored by the Arizona Women Lawyers Association, Sept. 24, 2014.

Brnovich:

“We as a society cannot tolerate when our most vulnerable are unprotected.”

“I am fully ready to push back against the Obama administration and its job-killing carbon regulations, which have a devastating impact on the economy and jobs.”

“He is such a fiscal conservative, he won’t even buy vowels for his last name.” (quoting Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery)

Felecia Rotellini speaks at the debate of Arizona Attorney General candidates at a forum sponsored by the Arizona Women Lawyers Association, Sept. 24, 2014.

Felecia Rotellini speaks at the debate of Arizona Attorney General candidates at a forum sponsored by the Arizona Women Lawyers Association, Sept. 24, 2014.

Rotellini:

“I want to return the Attorney General’s Office to its core mission; it should be an independent watchdog for the people. I worked to be sure mortgage fraud was made a criminal act.”

“I will take politics out of the office. When you’re in the trenches, you’re colorblind. There’s no red; there’s no blue.”

“It is important that the Attorney General not be an ideologue, and that the elected official appreciates the awesome power of the office.”

On rebuttal, the candidates became considerably more impassioned. In response to Rotellini comments, Brnovich told the audience that he is not an ideologue or an extremist.

Rotellini countered by discussing her opponent’s positions on pro-choice issues, SB1062, the Corrections Corporation of America, and Medicaid restoration, among other topics. She also mentioned the $700,000 in “dark money,” which she claims came from the Koch Brothers, which was spent in the primary in a successful effort to defeat incumbent Tom Horne.

Audience questions covered sex trafficking, same-sex marriage laws, lawsuits regarding federal mandates, and what changes each would make in the ranks of career prosecutors in the Attorney General’s Office.

Both candidates urged attendees to view all their positions on their respective websites: