On October 14th, a local reporter aired a story after the FBI released their report about a sweeping human trafficking sting across U.S. cities. No arrests were made by in-state FBI in Utah and only 150 arrests were made nationwide. Despite the disconcerting local headline: FBI sex trafficking efforts net no arrests in Utah, 150 nationwide — which factually on paper was true, the underlying story of human trafficking culpability, violence and unthinkable acts is exploding in this country and worldwide for a good reason — it is omnipresent and it is pure evil.
While the local story was accurate in some respects, it was also deceptive in a way I don’t think even the local reporter understood. The story aired with many questions unanswered. For low-info viewers who digest their news on the run or via social media, the result appeared to be another mainstream news report that distorted the facts and actual pervasiveness of human trafficking in a way that would lead some to believe this black market industry might not exist in Utah or the rest of America at all. This perception of human trafficking is not only dangerous but also reprehensible to anyone who understands the inherently sick nature of human trafficking.
For those who better understand human trafficking on a global, national or local level, or have been a victim and survivor of this horrific industry themselves, they know the truth and what lengths human trafficking perpetrators, many who are serial pedophiles, will go to cover up these heinous acts to profit from this modern day slavery that destroys so many lives and many times ends in death.
It was one such victim and survivor (I am happy to say), who I had the honor of meeting recently and introducing to the Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes that further changed my perspective on human trafficking.
With that said, please allow me to introduce Jerome Elam, a former U.S. Marine, husband, father and an incredibly passionate and dedicated man who has made it his life’s mission to eradicate human trafficking from the face of the Earth.
Reporter/anchor Holly Menino at Salt Lake City’s CBS affiliate KUTV aired a story on Jerome’s survival story and his meeting with Utah Attorney General Reyes that takes a deeper look at the subjective and objective impact human trafficking has on its victims and how much more we as a society must do moving forward to protect our children and families.