National Human Trafficking Prevention Month: Know the signs

National Human Trafficking Prevention Month: Know the signs
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. (Source: wect)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Though January is almost over, agencies are working around the clock to stop human traffickers across the ArkLaTex.

The first month of the year marks ‘National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention’ Month.

“Just driving around Shreveport, you see people who use people that are being trafficked,” said David Joseph, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. “Let us know when you see signs of human trafficking, which can be any kind of involuntary labor.”

Joseph spearheads the Northwest Louisiana Human Trafficking Taskforce, which aims to curtail inhumane operations.

“These operations can get intelligence, in the form of digital intelligence or human intelligence,” Joseph said. “We have a meeting once a month and the idea is to share information among law enforcement agencies.”

The task force is made up of federal, state and local agencies, including the FBI, Louisiana State Police, Shreveport Police, Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Joseph said human trafficking is a crime that hides in plain sight — which can be easy to overlook. Here are some of the signs someone is being trafficked:

  • Isolation - Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends and community organizations?
  • Intimidation - Is the person fearful or submissive?
  • Undernourished - Does the person show signs of a lack of food, water and sleep?
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Sudden behavior changes or mood swings
  • Has a child stopped attending school?
  • Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
  • Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
  • Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement?
  • Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?

If you see someone who might be a victim of human trafficking, call the Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888.

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