Documentary, national campaign aim to shed light on human trafficking in AL

Documentary, national campaign aim to shed light on human trafficking in AL
Carlon Harris is making a documentary centered around human trafficking in Birmingham. Source: WBRC video
Carlon Harris is making a documentary centered around human trafficking in Birmingham. Source: WBRC video

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Did you know human trafficking was a problem in Birmingham, AL? You may think of it happening in bigger cities, but investigators say it's everywhere.

The city of Birmingham wants you to be thinking about the problem, how to get involved in solving it, and to know what is happening to these victims.

The city has teamed up with the Department of Homeland Security to promote the Blue Campaign, which is an effort to bring the issue to the forefront by putting up posters around the city.

Carlon Harris is also hoping to integrate human trafficking as a part of everyday conversation. He is the Director of Research and Development with Sunny Slaughter Consulting.

He is working on a documentary centered around human trafficking in Birmingham.

"Human trafficking happens 365 days of the year. So, basically it can happen anytime, anywhere. Most victims, they will pass you," Harris said.

He started his research last year and has been in contact with organizations like The WellHouse that offer help to those in trafficking and prostitution

Through his research, he says parts of the city serve a hot spot.

"You have I-65 which is here and it is one of the key corridors for human trafficking. Basically every highway or every byway can be utilized as a corridor for human trafficking," Harris explained.

At times, human trafficking and prostitution may fall under the same umbrella.

But Harris said they are two completely different issues.

When you're dealing with human trafficking, Harris said there are four different versions: labor, domestic, sex trafficking and organ trafficking.

He said there are also three categories that label human trafficking that he refers to as "FFC."

"You have force, fraud and coercion. And so you have to have these three elements within human trafficking for it to be classified legally as human trafficking," Harris added.

Harris said with prostitution, it is the person who is exploiting themselves. No matter the neighborhood, Harris says human trafficking doesn't have a preference.

He said when it comes to spotting it, it's the details that are key.

"If you have someone that's sketchy in your area or that's in your neighborhood, or if you are in an establishment where there's an overly young individual, those are like key factors," he said.

Harris hopes to have his documentary complete by  the spring.

For more information about the Blue Campaign visit http://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign.

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