Phoenix Police Sergeant, Vice Squad
Chris Bray is a sergeant in the Phoenix Police Department, where he has served for 31 years, 22 of those as a sergeant. For the past 16 years, he has been an investigative supervisor in the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement bureaus. He is a subject matter expert on human trafficking for Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board and the California Peace Officer Standards and Training Board. He has a bachelor’s degree in police administration from Northern Arizona University and is a contributing author on the topic of human trafficking.
Sergeant Bray has been a voice for an overlooked population- prostituted women and girls, and has been active on behalf of crime victims throughout his entire professional life. He is frequently quoted in news and special interest publications, and volunteers countless hours of his personal time speaking to groups all over the state about sex trafficking and the toll it takes on our communities.
Chris has broken barriers in our state, and transformed the way we view prostitution and sex trafficking. Because of his work, there is a growing awareness that nearly all prostitution begins with the sexual exploitation of minors. Far from the stereotypes found in movies and television, real-life prostitutes are under-aged, and brutally exploited.
Sergeant Bray has moved Arizona opinion leaders away from thinking of the sex industry as a victimless crime. Thousands of boys and girls are victimized by this industry, and yet we still treat them as criminals. Chris is changing that; he is a hero to our community, and the young people he saves every day.
It’s happening right here. Recently, a 15 year-old Arizona girl was held for 42 days in a dog kennel and sold for purposes of gang rape. A respected Arizona businessman was just arrested for soliciting sex from a 13 year-old. And these are just the cases that made headlines.
- Prostitution is a $14.5 billion industry in the United States. – Shared Hope International
- There are at least 300,000 children prostituted in America every year. – US Department of Justice
- Phoenix is known as one of the worst cities in the nation for child prostitution. – The Arizona Republic
- Only 82 traffickers have been prosecuted in Maricopa County since 2006. – AZ Foundation for Women/Shared Hope International
- Experts estimate that 70 percent of street youth are victims of commercial sexual exploitation. – American Journal of Public Health
- 33 percent of teen runaways and throwaways will become involved in prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. – National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
- There are only 38 beds available in Maricopa County specifically for the shelter and treatment of minor sex trafficking victims. – AZ Foundation for Women
- At $200 per day, appropriate treatment in a therapeutic shelter is expensive when compared with $27-per-day foster care, which is usually not considered an appropriate setting for victims – AZ Department of Economic Security
Sex trafficking is the ultimate form of violence against women. Far from the media stereotype, prostituted girls (and they nearly all begin as girls) endure a brutal life of virtual slavery. The average age of entry into prostitution is thirteen, and trafficking victims come from nearly every social group and family setting.
Domestic minor sex trafficking happens in our neighborhoods. Our developed highway system, warm climate, high tourist and snowbird population, and wealth of convention centers and sports venues attract buyers and traffickers alike, making Arizona a prime location for this heinous crime.
The problem won’t go away on its own. As Phoenix Police Sergeant Chris Bray says, “The problem is here. The problem is growing. And without some kind of intervention of private or public funding, this isn’t going to get any better and these kids will have nowhere to go.”
Kids Are Not For Sale in Arizona
In the last twelve months, there has been an explosion of awareness and interest in the issue of domestic minor sex trafficking in Arizona. While Arizona and Phoenix have been recognized as particularly advanced in the areas of law enforcement and prosecution, we know that treatment options for minor victims of sex trafficking are sorely lacking.
The Arizona Foundation for Women has created the Kids Are Not For Sale in AZ Fund, which will provide needed resources for shelter and treatment of child sex trafficking victims, training for law enforcement and prosecutors, and public awareness efforts.
In cooperation with the Arizona Foundation for Women, the Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation has convened a “Community Collaboration” of non-profit service and advocacy organizations, academic institutions, funders, law enforcement officials, prosecutors, judges, and medical professionals. The focus of the collaboration is to determine the best way to establish services for child victims of sex trafficking in Arizona. Phase 1 researched existing community resources and surveyed practices across the nation
Download the Foundation’s Sex Trafficking of Domestic Minors in Phoenix, Arizona: A Research Project to read more about creating additional treatment options and a better care system for victims.
Just as our research promises to help change all this, so too does the support of our community. The size of the contribution each of us makes towards this initiative is not the point. If each of us contributes something—whatever the amount—our collective commitment will stand as an inspiration to the millions of people our efforts will reach.
To contribute to the Kids Are Not for Sale in AZ Fund, donate to http://www.azfoundationforwomen.org/category/get-involved/
Email us if you’re interested in collaborating.