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Counter trafficking in persons

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- When the words human trafficking are heard throughout the military community, most members often think of locations outside the United States. The truth is, human trafficking is present throughout the United States and even here in Colorado.

In March 2014, the Colorado State Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Colorado Springs and Pueblo police departments arrested individuals involved in a human trafficking investigation. The case involved three women picking victims up from nearby airports and transporting them to spas where they were forced into prostitution.

In 2013, the FBI recovered 105 juveniles in the nationwide operation, Innocence Lost Task Force. In Colorado, nine juveniles were recovered and six pimps were arrested. Female juvenile prostitution continues to be the most prevalent type of human trafficking in the local area.

Victims are often recruited at a young age and thrown into trafficking. Signs that a young female is being trafficked include spending significant time with older males, receiving nice "gifts" from older males and being offered hotel rooms. Unfortunately, most victims may not realize that they are in a trafficking situation until it is too late for them to separate themselves from their pimp or madam.

As a member of the Colorado Springs community, you can assist the victims of this crime by reporting trafficking activity. Contact the 21st Security Forces Squadron Investigations at 556-7060 to report trafficking behavior.

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