Training to focus on signs of human trafficking

Published 10:19 pm Friday, January 13, 2017

The Family Sunshine Center is teaming up with the Alabama Coalition Against Rape to teach law enforcement officers and social service workers about human trafficking.

Human trafficking, which is defined by the Department of Homeland Security as modern-day slavery through the use of force, fraud or coercion, is a growing problem in the United States and other countries.

“We are providing a trainer who is trained and pretty much considered an expert in human trafficking,” said Danielle George, a case manager for the Family Sunshine Center for Dallas, Perry and Wilcox counties. “So it will be a course for law enforcement and social workers.”

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The two organizations are holding a class next week to inform people about the growing problem and how they can recognize it in victims.

George said she recommends the class to law enforcement officers and social service workers, as well as anyone else interested in the subject, so when the problem happens, it can be recognized and solved.

“A lot of times with it being a rural community people don’t think that it is a problem, so we may miss the warning signs,” she said. “The trainer should be able to give the law enforcement officers and social service agents ways to look for human trafficking, how to be a referral source and how to be able to help those victims if they ever do come in contact with them.”

George said it is a good idea for police officers to learn the signs of it because they can sometimes come into contact with victims well before an organization that knows about human trafficking can help them.

“I think it is very important because when it comes to law enforcement they are sometimes on the front lines even before any other non-profit organization comes into play,” George said. “So I think it is very needed. Anytime as a community we can learn about something that we are seeing on national news and be able to be a part of that, it is needed.”

So far, George said eight to 10 people have signed up for the free course, but she is hoping for more.

“I think it is greatly encouraged. It is a free training in a local area so they don’t have to travel. I think it would just be a good way to network with someone who knows about human trafficking and has that experience,” she said. “So if they have any questions they have someone they can talk to and brainstorm ideas about to make sure that we will be better prepared for if and when that situation ever comes up.”

According to the Department of Homeland Security, millions of men, women and children are trafficked across the world.

According to statistics from the Human Trafficking Hotline’s website, 5,748 human trafficking cases were reported in 2016 in the U.S. Forty-two of them happened in Alabama.

George said people interested in signing up have until Tuesday to do so and can register by calling her at 399-1451.