U.S. Attorney’s Office Launches “U Can Stop Traffick” Campaign Against Sex and Drug Trafficking
United States Attorney Eric S. Miller, along with representatives from Vermont’s 2-1-1 network, Give Way to Freedom, the United Way, the Vermont Department of Child and Family Services, the Center for Crime Victim Services, the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, the Vermont Human Trafficking Task Force, elected leaders, and other non-profit and law enforcement entities today announced the launch of a new campaign raising awareness about sex and drug trafficking activities in the state.
The campaign will kick off with the release of the “U Can Stop Traffick” public service announcement, which will begin airing on Vermont television stations today and can be viewed on the campaign’s website, www.UCanStopTraffick.org. The website also includes the powerful stories of women who have been trafficked, recorded in their own words and voices, along with resource lists for individuals in need of help.
As Miller explained at a press conference at Burlington’s Contois Auditorium, heroin traffickers in Vermont do not work alone. They rely on local networks of people to support their illegal and destructive business model. These networks assist drug dealers by providing housing, contacts, and vehicles, and by transporting drugs. In some cases, Vermonters are also used by drug dealers for sex trafficking that profits their illicit drug organizations.
“We in law enforcement are working closely with our non-profit partners and elected leaders to undermine the foundations of drug dealing and help victims escape traffickers,” U.S. Attorney Miller said. “This public service announcement will raise awareness of the dangerous intersection of drug and sex trafficking in Vermont and connect affected individuals with the help and resources they need.”
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, D-VT, who led successful efforts to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and recently brought funding to Vermont to combat heroin trafficking, lauded the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its partners. Leahy said: “Once again Vermont is leading the way to find thoughtful, effective solutions to problems that erode our communities. Drug trafficking and human trafficking are terrible crimes. They destroy lives, devastate families and weaken communities. To fight back effectively, we must coordinate our efforts, and I am proud to see the collaboration among such dedicated partners.”
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said: “Today’s fight against the opiate crisis in our community requires an all hands on deck response and engaging all aspects of the problem. The Burlington Police Department is redoubling its efforts to stop the rising trafficking of heroin in our community and to stand up for the many victims of this terrible trade. I am grateful for the important partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Governor’s Office, the State’s Attorney’s Office, medical providers, and community support services in this fight against drug and sex trafficking in Vermont.”
The U Can Stop Traffick public service announcement was conceived by the United States Attorney’s Office, which engaged its law enforcement, non-profit, and social service providers to help create the campaign. The video and website were produced by Moving Pictures Division and the design work was done by RetroMotion Creative of Williston, Vermont and can be viewed at www.UCanStopTraffick.org.