Awareness is key to end human trafficking, law enforcement says

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 5:53 PM EST
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - The U.S. Department of State reports about 25 million people in the country are victims of human trafficking.

It seems like it would be difficult to spot, but law enforcement officials say if you know the signs of human trafficking, you can help end the cycle.

“If you’re interacting with someone and the person with them is kind of reluctant to maybe speak or look you in the eye, that could be an indicator,” said Captain Sean Stewart with Virginia State Police.

Stewart said awareness is key to ending and preventing human trafficking. Often, human trafficking is forced labor or forced prostitution, and he said victims are often denied basic care.

“That could be presented in a number of ways just generally poor hygiene, poor dental work, things along that nature. They may not be dressed well,” Stewart said.

If you think someone is the victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888. Locally, VSP is stepping up their response, and they’re reaching out to frequent travelers.

“Truck drivers, they’re always on the roads. They’re great eyes and ears. 9 out of 10 truck drivers want to do the right thing,” he said.

The U.S. Department of State reports people who fall victim to trafficking are often trying to make a better life for themselves.

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