SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - In an effort to end human trafficking here in the ArkLaTex, law enforcement agencies are holding a free training seminar on the subject Friday.
According to a Caddo Parish assistant district attorney, human trafficking is a big problem because of Interstate 20. That interstate is one of the most heavily trafficked in the nation. In fact, it's second in the entire nation.
The Caddo Parish District Attorney's office says that the best way to end it is to raise awareness.
"It's a huge deal, and it's really going to be beneficial when we're trying these cases," said Holly McGinness, head of the Human Trafficking Unit for the Caddo Parish DA.
The training program will feature testimony from survivors, it will train attendees on how to spot trafficking and will show volunteers what they can do to help.
"They're going to get to learn about some of law enforcement's response, some of the DA's office response and juvenile services response so they're going to get a little preview of how we are addressing the problem," said McGinness.
Registration starts at 8:00 a.m. The training program is held at Broadmoor Baptist Church at 4110 Youree Drive in Shreveport. It begins at 8:15 a.m. and runs until 4:45 p.m.
Events on the agenda include:
- 8:30 - 9:15 a.m., "Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children," presented by Jessica Milan Miller of the Gingerbread House.
- 9:15 - 10:15 a.m., "Human Trafficking — Red Flags and Risk Factors," by Cassie Hammett of Purchased: Not for Sale.
- 10:30 - 11:00 a.m., Survivor testimony by Brittany Pearson, who was rescued from a human trafficker by her father and successfully completed the Purchased program through which Caddo Parish sends its victims of human trafficking.
- 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., "The Law Enforcement Response," by FBI —Special Agent Chris Plants.
- 12:00 - 12:30 p.m., "Do No Harm — Supporting Survivors," by Sheryl Watts of Project Celebration.
- 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., lunch
- 1:30 - 2:30 p.m., "The Legal System Response," with McGinness , Laurie McGehee of Caddo Parish Juvenile Services and Tracy Dahmer of the Louisiana Attorney General’s office.
- 2:30 - 3:30 p.m., "Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES)," by Clay Walker, director of Caddo Parish Juvenile Services.
- 3:45 - 4:45 p.m., "Why Don’t They Just Leave? The Power of Psychological Coercion," by Shobana Powell of Caddo Parish Juvenile Services.
The event is geared towards law enforcement, community service providers and attorneys. The training is intended to help these professionals recognize and combat human trafficking in Caddo Parish. People who wish to register should email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The event is being put on by Caddo Parish Juvenile Services, in conjunction with the Coalition to End Human Trafficking.