Human Trafficking AwarenessMatt Boster
Posted by: Matt Boster
Date: Jan 18 2019 4:30 PM
MONTGOMERY -- Although January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, this growing problem demands year-round attention.
Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Hal Taylor said, “Yes, we in the law enforcement community, both sworn and civilian personnel, are trained to recognize key indicators of human trafficking, but the public’s assistance is crucial.”
The 2018 statistics are not available at this time, but the Alabama Fusion Center, which is part of ALEA, received 184 calls in 2017 from members of the public, with 68 human trafficking cases reported in reference to this state.
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery involving use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act, and there are a number of common signs indicating such a situation:
- Does a person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations or houses of worship?
- Has a child stopped attending school?
- Has a person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
- Is a person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
- Does a person have bruises in various stages of healing?
- Is a person fearful, timid or submissive?
- Is a person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers or someone who seems to be in control of where he or she goes, etc.?
These are but a few of the key indicators from the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign (www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign).
It also is important members of the public who witness something suspect safely report the matter to law enforcement. To report a situation, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 866.347.2423. To request assistance, victims of human trafficking may call 888.373.7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).
“This is not something that occurs only in big cities,” Secretary Taylor said. “This is happening in communities across Alabama. With the public’s help, we will end this heinous crime.”