Local law enforcement talks human trafficking

An often-neglected topic was presented to local law enforcement agents during the block training earlier today.

Human trafficking is something that may seem foreign, but it is an escalating problem on a national and local level, trailing only the drug trade in illegal dealings. Michigan ranks in the top five states for the growing problem, thanks in large part to the proximity to the Canadian border. There are currently 30 open human trafficking cases in the Michigan court system alone.

Officials from the Polaris Project human rights group believe there would be even more if residents were aware of the telltale signs.

“People need to know what they’re looking for an identify first. Once that is accomplished, we will be able to start to build on cases and bring traffickers to justice,” noted Kelly Laakso, Sexual Assault & Victim Advocate for the Women’s Center’s Harbor House.

“Go with your gut. If something doesn’t feel right with your neighbors or an industry or restaurant that you’re eating at, just be willing to ask the question. Think broadly about what the behaviors of the individual might be. Do they have control of their possessions for example,” explained Amy Kordus, Youth Advocate at the Women’s Center’s Harbor House.

If you know anyone or see anything that fits that description call your local law enforcement agency, the Women’s Center Harbor House or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.