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Arizona legislators push human trafficking awareness

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(The Center Square) – Arizona legislators Sen. Frank Carroll, R-Surprise and House Majority Leader Leo Biasiucci, R-Lake Havasu, are promoting the documentary “Sound of Freedom” as an extension of their campaign against human trafficking.

“Sound of Freedom” is produced by Angel Studios, a Christian streaming company known for producing “The Chosen” and “Tuttle Twins” series. Set for release in theaters on July 4, the movie tells the true story of retired government Jim Ballard, who established the nonprofit Operation Underground Railroad.

Carroll and Biasiucci have passed legislation through the years to address human trafficking across Arizona, such as HB 2889 in 2021 and HB 2696 in 2022, to enact stricter sentences against those convicted of human trafficking and child abuse. The legislators also appropriated $10 million in the FY 2024 budget toward law enforcement resources used against human smuggling.

“We can’t continue to turn a blind eye to this grave issue, stealing the innocence and risking the lives of our precious children,” Carroll said. “It’s our duty as lawmakers to protect those who cannot protect themselves, and I’m calling on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle at the Legislature, as well as the Governor, to recognize the dire need for common sense protections and to take action next session. I vow to work tirelessly to bring justice to these victims and prevent further victimization.”

According to the Arizona State University Center for Child Well-Being, 291 children in Maricopa County were victims of sex trafficking between 2017 and 2020.

“President Biden and his administration have willfully refused to secure the border, further enabling the criminals who enslave and exploit children,” Biasiucci said. “Now, states must act where the federal government fails. The safety and well-being of children is a top priority for me, Senator Carroll, and the entire Republican Majority at the Legislature. We must, and will, continue to do everything we can to combat human smuggling and child sexual abuse.”

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