Attorney General accuses media of reporting that human trafficking doesn’t exist in Utah

Posted at 8:35 PM, Feb 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-23 23:37:04-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Attorney General scolded the media Thursday, saying they don’t do enough reporting on human trafficking crimes.

Attorney General Sean Reyes made the statements at a press conference Thursday, where he announced the arrests of 16 people since January 1.

Each of the suspects were involved in human trafficking or internet sex crimes against children, Reyes said.

But then Reyes turned his focus to the media.

“People don't believe it can happen here, fueled sometimes by media stories and reports that these kind of things don't exist, that they're fabricated by law enforcement,” Reyes said while standing off to the side of the podium.

“Fueled by media reports that these things don't exist?” one reporter at the event asks.

“Sure,” Reyes replies.

“Any specifics?” another reporter asks.

“No, not right now,” Reyes responds, moving back toward the podium. “I do have one more thing to comment on though, because I don’t want to hijack…”

“No, please…” one reporter says before another adds, “That’s quite an accusation...”

Reyes replies: “You can look and do your own homework. I have read articles and reports where people have speculated that this is not actually happening. And I think it would be irresponsible to take that view, because we have put so much time, so much effort, so many resources, and we know these cases exist."

Fox 13 News reports constantly on the very real threat of internet luring and human trafficking in Utah. See the links below for a sampling of our coverage of those issues over the last year.

February 19, 2017: University of Utah hosts symposium on fighting human trafficking

February 18, 2017: Man sentenced to prison after taking plea deal in Bountiful human trafficking case

December 23, 2016: Ogden man accused of sexual abuse of a child, other sex crimes

December 22, 2016: Charges filed against Sandy man accused of sexually abusing girls

November 11, 2016: Utah AG may be investigating human trafficking crimes in FLDS towns

October 27, 2016: Registered sex offender released from prison in March arrested in Provo park

October 22, 2016: Taylorsville man allegedly assaulted escort who refused to engage in ‘fetish games’

October 18, 2016: 1 girl in Utah among several rescued during FBI’s national human trafficking sting operation

October 11, 2016: Amber Alert abduction suspect accused of child sex abuse; has history of working with children

October 7, 2016: Utah man accused of arranging to meet 13-year-old for sex, sending nude pics

August 26, 2016: Man behind bars after trying to arrange rape of 12-year-old girl in Davis County

August 1, 2016: Former Park City teacher sentenced for sending sexual messages to 13-year-old boy

July 22, 2016: Police say ‘porn sniffing’ dog deployed during ICAC arrest in Heber City

July 13, 2016: Utah Attorney General handles growing number of human trafficking, child exploitation cases

June 22, 2016: Former Utah teacher claims he traded sex for better grades during online chats

January 15, 2016: Human trafficking forces new approaches to tackling prostitution