Groups raise awareness of sex trafficking in Mid-Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Groups raise awareness of sex trafficking in Mid-Michigan

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MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) -

Many people don't realize the I-75 corridor is a major hub for human trafficking in the United States, which means several Mid-Michigan counties are affected by the terrible practice.

Now, two local groups are teaming up to help teach others how to identify if someone might be a victim.

The NAACP and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority came together Sunday. They are raising awareness for what they consider a growing epidemic. 

"We know that there has been an uptick in Saginaw and Bay County. We want our youth to know there are adults who will help,"  said Karen Lawrence-Webster.

 The group described human trafficking as sexual or labor exploitation. Webster said it's modern day slavery and it needs to end.   

Over a hundred people from across the community came to the special event. Leaders spoke about the warning signs and risk factors of human trafficking.

Law enforcement officials said to watch out for people who look abused and malnourished. In sex trafficking, having tattoo's on the neck or lower back could indicate branding.  

"We know of two incidents in the community that involved human trafficking. We just had an occurrence in Bay City last week,"  said Lawrence-Webster.

Webster hopes the meeting will help put human trafficking in the spotlight. 

"Issues that impacts our youth in the community. We are here to bring awareness," she said. 

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, more than 4,400 human trafficking cases have been reported this year. 

If you see anyone you think may be a victim, you can call 1-888-373-7888. 

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