BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is an editorial from WBRC FOX6 News General Manager Collin Gaston, which first aired on Monday, Feb. 05, 2018:
Kudos to the Alabama State Senate for passing a bill last Tuesday that establishes stronger penalties for anyone found guilty of obstructing an investigation into human trafficking. Under current law, someone found to be obstructing in a human trafficking investigation would be charged with a Class C felony with penalties up to one year in prison. The new legislation would increase the penalty to a Class A felony with minimum jail sentencing at 10 years.
The impact of this new legislation and its potential impact in our area should not be discounted. Central Alabama is a trafficking corridor given our proximity to I-65 and I-20 with connections to major ports and cities. The statistics are staggering – since 2007, 1,119 calls have been made to the National Human Trafficking Hotline that references Alabama with over 377 victims identified. The vast majority of victims are women, with a high percentage being minors. You know what brought it home for me - the fact that these minors are people's children being sold.
The hope is, with increased prison sentences, those that know something or see something will now speak up. For the sake of the women and children enslaved in this this billion dollar sexual exploitation industry, don't be silent.
Please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 or local law enforcement if you have any information that could lead to the arrest of those involved in the trafficking of another human being.