TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - The four largest police agencies in the Tuscaloosa are now fighting human trafficking with a metro unit designed to save trafficking victims, and arrest those abusing them.
Tuscaloosa and Northport PD, UAPD and the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office recently signed a mutual aid agreement creating the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force.
″Solidifies the efforts of the four major law enforcement agencies in this county on the fight against human trafficking," Task Force Commander Lt. Darren Beams explained.
Beams said the unit includes nearly 30 investigators from four departments trained to investigate human trafficking.
“In 2017, we led the state. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency reported there were 31 cases of human trafficking in Alabama, eight of them were ours,” Beams added.
He cited easy access to Tuscaloosa along the interstate as one reason so many trafficking cases have been made there.
Beams said they’ve rescued eight trafficking victims and arrested more than 100 people for buying sex or promoting human trafficking.
“We have a victim-centered approach. We want to focus on string prosecutions of the offenders of the highest level including federal court,” said Beams.
The West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force also offers free training to the public and businesses on how to spot human trafficking when it happens. You can set that up through the Tuscaloosa Police Department.