PHOENIX — Contrary to popular belief, not only is slavery not dead it's thriving in the United States.

January marks the observance of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

First observed in 2010, the month of observance seeks to inform people about the reality and widespread nature of this inhumane practice and raise awareness in order to prevent it.

“According to the International Labor Organization, an estimated 25 million people are subject to human trafficking around the world.” U.S. Under Secretary of Defense Robert Wilkie wrote earlier this month. “The Department must continue to raise awareness and do our part to end this horrendous crime against humanity.”

Arizona was the eighth-worst state in 2019 for human trafficking, with 231 reported cases last year, up from 12th in 2017.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey recognized the month with a proclamation and symbolically lighting the Arizona State Capitol Dome in blue.

“Arizona has made tremendous progress in the fight against human trafficking, but more work remains,” Ducey said. “With dedicated leaders like Cindy McCain, Arizona will continue to be a national leader in efforts to provide awareness training and support victims.”

McCain, widow of former U.S. Sen. John McCain, began speaking out about human trafficking in 2013 and went on to serve as co-chair on former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's Task Force on Human Trafficking.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-888-373-7888.

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