Modern-day slavery is real and it’s happening right here in our state. In 2017 there were more than 600 trafficking victims rescued in Alabama.
“The most evil people in the world are involved in human trafficking, we need to let them know the problem is real, it’s not an urban legend,” said Bo Williams with the North Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force.
Human trafficking is the second largest criminal activity in the world and North Alabama is not exempt.
“There was a case in the shoals just last month where a 17 year old girl was being trafficked for drug money,” Williams said.
Human traffickers commonly find their victims at schools, places children hang out and large sporting events like the super bowl. Tonight residents learned more about how to spot the hidden crime.
“Lack of eye contact, fear or distrust. Someone who has someone else speaking for them, at the doctor or in school for example. Someone who, you ask them a question and someone else answers, an older person,” he explained.
Half of all the human trafficking victims in the world are under the age of 18. “There are more human trafficking victims who are female than male, but the number of males is raising. It’s a crime that doesn’t discriminate though, anyone can be a victim,” Williams continued.
The North Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force hosts meetings like these in an effort to raise awareness and put an end to the $150 billion business.
“The internet is the one that really frightens us though, because traffickers can pretend to be children and get to know other children and groom them, basically. Find out what the children give them on social media to work with and exploit them,” Williams added.
The North Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force says, if you think someone may be a victim of human trafficking, call police immediately. Do not try to rescue the victim yourself.