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Caddo DA turns to social media to help fight human trafficking

Updated: Jan. 9, 2017 at 10:35 PM CST
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(Source: graphiq.com)
(Source: graphiq.com)
"It's a very serious issue. And we've got victims and survivors living right here in...
"It's a very serious issue. And we've got victims and survivors living right here in Caddo-Bossier," Caddo Assistant District Attorney Holly McGinness said. (Source: KSLA News 12)
To take a stand on social media, grab a piece of paper, write an anti-trafficking slogan like...
To take a stand on social media, grab a piece of paper, write an anti-trafficking slogan like "Real Men Don't Buy Girls" or "Real Men Don't Buy Sex." Then post it to social media with the hashtags #RealMenDon'tBuyGirls and #NotInMyCitySBC. (Source: KSLA)

CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - The Caddo district attorney's office and its partners are joining a national social media campaign to ramp up awareness of National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

You also can get involved.

Click here to view livestream of KSLA News 12.   Mobile users, click here.

KSLA News 12 has reported about how prevalent human trafficking has been in Shreveport and surrounding areas.

In 2015, 13 child victims were recovered in the Caddo/Bossier area and more than 100 were identified throughout Louisiana.

"I really hope that it sinks in when you see a mayor and a district attorney holding a sign like this that human trafficking is an issue," Caddo Assistant District Attorney Holly McGinness said.

"Not only is it an issue worldwide, it is an issue here in the United States, it's an issue here in Louisiana and it's an issue in Caddo/Bossier."

The district attorney's office, in partnership with law enforcement and organizations including the Community Response Team and the FREE Coalition, have been working in recent years to help survivors, identify trafficking and prosecute it.

The next step is building awareness and teaching community members how to stop it. That's where the power of social media comes in.

Local leaders and community officials already have started getting in on the campaign. You too can get involved.

To take a stand on social media, grab a piece of paper, write an anti-trafficking slogan like "Real Men Don't Buy Girls" or "Real Men Don't Buy Sex." Then post it to social media with the hashtags #RealMenDon'tBuyGirls and #NotInMyCitySBC.

"Most of our communication and most people are connected via social media," McGinness said. "So getting people to take the pictures and allow us to post them means they are  joining in a conversation. That really is the goal of Human Trafficking Prevention Month is to start that conversation and to grow that awareness.

"The purpose of the awareness and prevention campaign is to shed light on the realities of sex trafficking in our community," she continued.

"Many residents do not realize human trafficking is happening right here in Caddo/Bossier. Our goal is to educate on how to recognize the red flags and how to report to authorities so that we can connect victims to safety, resources and healing."

To see more photos, like the FREE Coalition on Facebook and Instagram.

Other awareness events planned in January include:

What: Shreveport-Bossier City proclamation event
When: 11 a.m. Jan. 13
Where: front steps of Caddo Parish Juvenile Court, 1835 Spring St. in Shreveport
Details: Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler and Bossier City Mayor Lorenz "Lo" Walker will acknowledge the prevalence of human trafficking in their communities and boost unified efforts toward prevention.

What: Recognizing the Signs of Sex Trafficking 
When: 11:30 a.m to 1 p.m. Jan. 27
Where: YWCA of Northwest Louisiana, Suite B at 850 Olive St. in Shreveport.
Details: Participants in the training session will learn how to recognize the signs of trafficking and how to report it to the appropriate authorities. A panel of experts will outline the red flags and recruitment process of trafficking, detail local anti-trafficking work and address the often-asked question "Why don't they just leave?"
To take part: RSVP by calling (318) 550-4417.

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