Human Trafficking Conference Begins Today in Salt Lake City

(KCPW News) Law enforcement leaders and victims’ rights advocates from across North America are gathering in Salt Lake City today. The 2012 Trafficking in Persons Symposium will look at how to bring more awareness to the problem and hold traffickers more accountable. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who will speak at the event, says trafficking happens in Utah every day.

“People think that sex trafficking of children only happens overseas in the Philippines or Indonesia,” he tells KCPW. “We estimate between 100,000 and 300,000 children are involved in forced sex trade here in the country, and Utah’s no different. We have the problem here like you do everywhere else.”

Shurtleff says one of the largest problems law enforcement faces involves personal ads placed online.

“We’ve worked hard to get a deal with Craigslist to de-list a lot of the personal ads which we clearly could show was involved in child sex trafficking, but we have a problem right now with Backpage.com,” says Shurtleff.

The conference will run through Friday at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center.