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A Message From The Sheriff

I recently attended an informational meeting along with other local leaders to discuss the issue of human trafficking in Faulkner County. Tina Cope with First Love Ministries helped to lead this discussion. I wanted to share with you some very important information we took away from this meeting because I think it is crucial to keep you - our community - better informed of the issues that are occurring in our county. Please share this with your circle of influence. Each of us can have a great impact on this human trafficking problem. Collectively, we can have an even greater impact. And just to remind you - if you see something, say something.

Sheriff Tim Ryals

Human Trafficking Overview

Human Trafficking is defined as the action of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring, or receiving a person through force, fraud, threat, abduction, or deception for the purpose of exploitation, including but not limited to: debt bondage, servitude, slavery, labor, Sex Trafficking, or Organ Trafficking. Anyone can be a victim - yourchildren, sister, brother, mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandchildren, friend, neighbor, or you.

• Force - Physical assault, sexual assault, rape, physical confinement, or isolation
• Fraud - Fraudulent employment offers, false promises about work or living conditions, or withholding wages
• Coercion - Threat to life and/or safety of family members or others, threat of deportation, withholding documents, debt bondage, creating a climate of fear, psychological and/or emotional manipulation

According to the law, anyone under the age of 18 and in any form of sex trafficking is automatically a victim, and they do not have to prove force, fraud, or coercion.


• Noticeably older "boyfriend" or "girlfriend"
• Appears to be under someone else's control, watched at all times, and all or most of their contact with family and friends is controlled or monitored
• Does not manage their own money or their own money is largely controlled by someone else
• Lives with multiple people in a very cramped space
• Avoids eye contact and does not speak for themselves
• Appears to have scars or physical injuries, such as cuts, bruises, or burns
• Does not have possession or control of identification documents
• Changes in attitude, appearance (new clothes, accessories, tattoos), multiple phones, new friend group, etc.
• Exhibits emotional distress, depression, anxiety, nervousness, paranoia, etc.
• Tattoo/branding markings, such as a barcode, crown, numbers, rose, or name/initials of their "boyfriend"
• STDs or STIs, multiple pregnancies, or poor health


• In the August 2017 ARBEST (Arkansas Building Effective Services for Trauma) report, Faulkner County and White County were cited as having the highest at-risk youth.
• An estimated 200,000 slaves are in the United States and hidden in plain sight.
• Human Trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the United States, and according to the United Nations, has surpassed Drug Trafficking as the leading criminal enterprise.
• Human Trafficking generates more than $99 billion a year (data as of 2014)
• In the United States, approximately 600,000 to 800,000 people are being exploited. Of those, between 300,000 to 500,000 individuals are Sex Trafficking victims, and 98% of victims are female - half of who are under the age of 18.
• Human Trafficking exploits a reusable a product - a human. Drugs and guns can only be sold once, but a human exploited is sold again and again and again. On average, a woman who is a victim of trafficking will bring in $250,000 to $300,000 over the course of three years in slavery.
• 54% of victims were recruited by strangers, and 46% were recruited by people they know.
• Within 48 hours, 1 out of 3 runaways will be approached by a trafficker.
• The average age of a trafficking victim is 12 to 14 years old with many cases citing children as young as 8 years old.
• The growth in sales of child pornography has increased the demand for younger victims.
• Traffickers seek children in the foster care system, runaways, intellectually-delayed children, and children living with guardians other than their parents.
• Arkansas is experiencing an influx of gangs that run Human Trafficking rings.

• People from every profession and season of life can have a positive impact on this crisis.
• If you are aware of or suspect trafficking, please do not attempt to remove the victim - call 911! If possible, take notice of what they look like, what they are wearing, and the location where you saw them.
• Share what you know. Talk to friends, family members, and coworkers about Human Trafficking.
• Take a stand. Join us in our fight to end Human Trafficking.

Support Businesses that Help Human Trafficking Victims and Survivors
Kairos Traders
Still Being Molly
Thistle Farms

Exodus Cry
Immerse Arkansas
OUR Rescue
Magdalene Serenity House
Polaris Project
Shared Hope International

Nefarious: Merchant of Souls
Operation Toussaint
Very Young Girls
What I've Been Through Is Not Who I Am

Making of a Girl(5-minute video regarding commercial exploitation of children)

The National Human Trafficking Hotline: (888) 373-7888

Sources: Polaris Project, United Nations on Drugs and Crime, Human Rights First

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