Is Arizona a Hub of Child Sex Trafficking? Why does Arizona Take the Highest Percentage of Children from their Homes?
It has been well-documented that the State of Arizona removes children from their homes and places them in foster care at a rate that is higher than any other state in the U.S. In 2015, Arizona House Democrats wrote a letter to the governor asking why this rate continues to increase, and has reached a rate of 1 out of every 100 children in Arizona is in foster care. In 2017, reporter Bob Ortega ran a series of articles on the state of Child Welfare in Arizona in the Arizona Republic. The front page of a January Sunday edition had a photo with this inscription: "Every 40 minutes, an Arizona child is removed from his or her home. We’re still asking, Why?" In 2017, Health Impact News reported on the arrest of Arizona foster parent David Frodsham, who allegedly ran a child pornographic and pedophile ring out of his state-approved foster home. After he was arrested, one of his foster children, Devani, was placed into another state-approved foster home where 80% of her body was burned by scalding water, forcing the amputation of her toes. Another boy who was part of his foster home aged out of the system at 18, and filed a lawsuit for $15 million for years of torture and sexual abuse. In April of 2018, federal law enforcement officials arrested Arizona residents Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin after years of investigating their involvement in human trafficking, including child sex trafficking, mainly through their online classified ads website “Backpage.com.” The website was also seized and closed down. Backpage.com has been linked to 73 percent of all child trafficking in the United States, as was revealed in a Senate investigation in 2017. Why are these horrific situations allowed to continue in Arizona? Why was it necessary to bring in federal agents to arrest David Frodsham, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin after years of being involved in sexually trafficking children? Is there something going on in Arizona preventing local authorities from dealing with what appears to be a massive child sex trafficking system?