In-depth: Shining a light on human trafficking, part one

Mar 6, 2019, 3:28 PM | Updated: Dec 31, 2020, 9:37 am
human trafficking part one...
Coco Berthman shared this photo on her Instagram profile.

Editorial note: This story is part one of a three part series on human trafficking in Utah. Find part two here, and part three here

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah college student who was a human trafficking victim is sharing her story,  as authorities try to get more of us to recognize the signs and help stop the problem.

Coco Berthman was born into human trafficking in Germany and says her own family did it to her.

“It is really common for children to be trafficked within their own family, because the younger the child, the more money the trafficker receives,” she said.

“Rape, gang rape, torturing, waterboarding, shame, forced drug use — these are the usual things they do,” she said.

She escaped by running away when she was 15. Now, ten years later, she is a student at LDS Business College and a board director for Arise Project for Humanity. The organization tries to help victims, and educate others on what to look for.

“It touches all business, all industry,”  said Berthman. “Transportation, hospitality, entertainment. And human trafficking is not a foreign issue. The biggest demand for child sex is in the US.”

At the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Daniel Strong is one of 8 full-time investigators assigned to uncover and prosecute human trafficking

“Trafficking for adult victims, is compelling them to work whether in sex or any form of labor, through force, fraud or coercion,” he explained. And he says it often happens right in someone’s own community.

“We may see it and not even know it. A trafficker could walk by with their victim and you wouldn’t know, until you hear their story,” said Strong.

Read more: 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Crime, Police + Courts

North Park Police is investigating a bomb threat Friday afternoon at a Walmart in North Logan. Shut...
Mark Jones

No bomb found after threat is made at North Logan Walmart

North Park Police are investigating a bomb threat at a North Logan Walmart on Friday afternoon.
1 day ago
A new substance linked to several deadly overdoses around the country is now appearing in Utah, and...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Drug Enforcement Administration warns of new substance appearing in Utah

A new substance linked to several deadly overdoses around the country is now appearing in Utah, and the DEA says it’s a serious danger.
1 day ago
paltrow pictured at her ski accident trial...
Waverly Golden and Jessica Lowell

Lawyers of man who lost lawsuit against Gwyneth Paltrow may try for new trial

Sanderson was asking for $300,000 in damages while Paltrow countersued for $1.
1 day ago
Former President Donald Trump speaks with reporters while in flight on his plane after a campaign r...

Donald Trump indicted; expected to surrender early next week

Charges stem from payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence claims of an extramarital sexual encounter.
1 day ago
Pictures of the victims killed in a mass shooting at The Covenant School are fixed to a memorial ne...
Mallika Kallingal, Nouran Salahieh and Eric Levenson, CNN

Some 911 calls from Nashville’s Covenant School shooting are released

 (CNN) — Some of the 911 calls from The Covenant School shooting have been released by the City of Nashville, capturing some of the tense moments as the carnage played out. One woman who says she is in the building as the shooting is happening tells the operator, “I hear another shot.” The operator responds, […]
1 day ago
Former President Donald Trump listens as he speaks with reporters while in flight on his plane afte...
Mark Jones

Former President Trump was indicted Thursday, what it means

Former President Trump was indicted Thursday by a New York grand jury. KSL at Night hosts discuss with former U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah, John Huber.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...
BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.
Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five common causes of Cervical Cancer – and what you can do to lower your risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get ready for fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 easy Christmas dinner ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
In-depth: Shining a light on human trafficking, part one