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Human trafficking a concern with World Games nearing

WBRC Human trafficking warning
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 7:08 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The World Games is now under 60 days away and while many are excited there are a few concerns. With large events comes larger threats, that includes human trafficking.

It will definitely be a focus for law enforcement. One local police chief is telling me that with large scale events it is a certainty that incidents of human trafficking will undoubtedly increase.

It can happen right here in Alabama. I spoke with The WellHouse CEO Carolyn Potter, she stressed that I-20 is a human trafficking highway and that an increase with a large scale event would not be shocking. The WellHouse is one organization here in Birmingham raising awareness on the issue. They also help victims after experiencing trafficking and stress it touches more than most know.

“We want to see this survivors identified and rescued and brought to the WellHouse or somewhere else but it is indeed happening. Young ladies come here from every community in the Birmingham area, from the poorest to the most wealthy,” said Potter.

The Jefferson County Deputy District Attorney Ellie Friedman sharing a few warning signs about human trafficking and one alleged sign, is actually a common misconception. That is injuries but some warning signs include someone not being dressed for the weather and body marks or tattoos that indicate ownership.

“Tattoos are very common in the world of trafficking, and they are going to be tattoos in visible spots. So the inside of your wrist, your neck, your chest. That trafficker’s nickname, but that is a way for traffickers to signal to other traffickers that victim is claimed. So you want to look for those signs. You want to look for a victim who cannot tell you their circumstance. Where they have been, where they are going or how long you are going to be there,” said Deputy District Attorney Friedman.

The big takeaway is if you see something that appears suspicious, say something to law enforcement. You could be saving a life.

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