The Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners on Jan. 24 read and signed its second ever Board proclamation, which recognizes January 2023 as Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month. Commissioners highlighted the topic because of the ongoing work between the County, the District Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement agencies that helps keep children and vulnerable adults safe.
“Through our work we are aware of the heinous nature of these cases and the significant long-term negative effects on the victims,” said Cheryl Ternes, Director of Human Services. “These are victims who have usually suffered hardships from traumas already in their lives before even being victimized by human traffickers. “
Arapahoe County and the 18th Judicial District participate in Operation Cross Country, where law enforcement and human services employees locate and rescue victims of trafficking and commercial sex exploitation, resulting in the identification of 11 child victims of sex trafficking, 11 adult victims and 27 missing or endangered children.
Human traffickers often target the most marginalized and vulnerable community members. Arapahoe County Department of Human Services and the 18th Judicial District will continue partnering with local, state and federal agencies to locate and rescue victims of trafficking and commercial sex exploitation.
“Human trafficking is not just something you read about or hear about in the newspaper and think it doesn’t happen in our community, truly it does,” said John Kellner, District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District. “It is a scary thought to process, but by you bringing this proclamation forward I think it recognizes the truth and you can see it.”
Colorado residents, potential victims and survivors can visit ThisIsHumanTrafficking.com to learn more about human trafficking, leave a tip or be connected to services or call Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline at 866-455-5075.