January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

With human trafficking among the fastest-growing crimes nationwide, many government agencies are stepping forward to enhance awareness of issues and implementing methods to combat this increasing problem.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) has joined various agencies across the state and country by recognizing January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers profit from the control and exploitation of others.

As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking in the U.S. include three groups:

     (a) Minors (under age 18) induced into commercial sex

     (b) Adults (age 18 or over) involved in commercial sex via force, fraud or coercion

     (c) Children and adults forced to perform labor and/or services involuntarily

While this may seem to be a global issue, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) reported over 30 cases of some form of human trafficking in Mississippi in 2015 and nearly 150 cases since 2007. 

Many victims of this crime are not in one place long enough to form social connections and are often transported throughout the country in commercial motor vehicles. MDOT’s Office of Enforcement plays a critical role in combating this issue and uncovering these victims.

Last year, in coordination with the Gov. Phil Bryant’s Human Trafficking Task Force, all MDOT Enforcement officers were trained on how to identify and police human trafficking at weigh stations and on state highways.

The Mississippi Center for Violence Prevention, Mississippi Department of Homeland Security and Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) were all involved in the training led by Brad Dennis of the Klaaskids Foundation, which provides assistance to families of missing children and rescue operations for trafficked children.

All MDOT Enforcement officers in are now trained on how to assess and respond to human trafficking incidents in Mississippi.

In continuing to raise awareness, MDOT teamed up with the Mississippi Trucking Association and TAT to bring the Freedom Driver’s Project mobile exhibit to the Mississippi State Fair last year.

Learn more about the Freedom Driver’s Project and the human trafficking mobile exhibit at www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org.

For more information on the Gov. Bryant’s Task Force on Human Trafficking visit http://www.governorbryant.com/governor-bryant-creates-human-trafficking-task-force.

Copyright 2016 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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