MARQUETTE — January is human trafficking awareness month and though it’s not always talked about, it’s something we should be aware of. In this week’s ABC 10 feature, Caylee Kirby met with Marquette Police to talk about what we should know when it comes to human trafficking.
It may not seem like a big deal but human trafficking is something that’s always happening, even without us noticing.
It’s a billion–dollar industry where victims that are trafficked are under physical and psychological control. Once they are in the system, they become more of an object and less of a human.
For human trafficking awareness month, it’s important that we are aware of some of the signs.
“Possibly somebody who is a victim of physical/emotional abuse, somebody who seems like they are being controlled, may not be able to freely contact friends and family, being deprived of what we think are necessities; food, shelter, water, medical care” said Detective Sergeant, Chris Aldrich.
Human trafficking is labeled into three categories; sex trafficking -which is the most common, sex and labor trafficking, and labor trafficking.
Although the Upper Peninsula, does not see much human trafficking there have been some reports and cases before.
“We have had reports of possible human trafficking that we have looked into. The few reports that we have had, have been on the sexual type side of it rather than the labor type side of it” said Aldrich.
In 2017 alone, the National Human Trafficking Hotline received reports of over 8,000 trafficking cases. That is a 13 percent increase since 2016.
“They may be arrested from prostitution, which may then lead to the discovery that they were being forced into those types of trades” said the Detective Sergeant.
Social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, are other places where trafficking often happens. These sites make victims easier to find and pick up.
“There are resources out there for them, both on the local level and the state level as far as assisting people to get out from the control and oversight of their perpetrators” said Aldrich.
And if anybody has a suspicion of something going on, contact your local police department so it can be looked into.