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Mid-Michigan students are being groomed for human trafficking, according to Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson.

“We have students from the ages of 12 to 18 groomed by people who are 22 to 59 just in the last week,” said Swanson.

Swanson said predators were going after students even when they were in class on school computers by trying to lure them in with compliments and gifts.

“Hey, you’re beautiful and I want to meet you,” said Swanson, explaining what the traffickers are saying to students. “I’d love to take you to dinner. If we meet, I can give you money.”

Swanson said they are still investigating report incidents. At this time, they are not releasing information about which schools this happened at, only that they are located inside of Genesee County.

One of the interactions led to the student meeting up with a person online.

“These people have no good intent,” said Swanson. “No, they did the one thing and that’s too assault them and sexually abuse them.”

“Victimization is here and it is real,” said Chia Morgan with Trauma Recovery at Hurley Medical Center.

Morgan said human trafficking is alive and well in Genesee County anyone caught up in it can get help at the hospital.

“We help them whether they need a PPO, what they need to be relocated,” said Morgan. “They just need somebody to sit there and talk to and say this is something that I’ve been dealing with forever or I never thought this could happen.”

No arrests have been made yet, but Swanson said it’s still a very active investigation. Swanson warns parents and teachers to be on the lookout especially when it comes to what children are going online.

“Because of the online ability to connect and groom and assault and charge,” said Swanson.

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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