SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Over 15 agencies, offices, and non-profits will join together Thursday morning to hold a ceremony recognizing Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
The event begins at 10 am on Thursday, January 11 at the Caddo Parish Juvenile Justice Complex in Shreveport.
The second annual event brings together Shreveport-Bossier, both parishes and a host of law enforcement agencies and non-profits dedicated to the prevention and eradication of human trafficking.
The ceremony will be hosted by Caddo Parish Juvenile Services, and partnering with FREE: Coalition of NWLA, Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler, Bossier Mayor Lo Walker, Office of the Governor, Caddo and Bossier District Attorneys, Caddo and Bossier Police Departments, Caddo and Bossier Sheriff Offices, Caddo City Marshal, Caddo Parish School Board, Caddo Public Defender Offices, among others.
Leann Bussey has worked at PURCHASED since it's inception and says the one thing people need to know is that trafficking knows no boundaries.
"This industry has no stereotype. Human trafficking knows no color, knows no race, socioeconomic status, if you went to college, if your friends are married or divorced, it doesn't matter, it takes no shape, it takes no form, it can happen to anyone anywhere," said Bussey.
"As a young girl, you don't wake up one day and think yeah I think that's what I want to do with my life. Kids have dreams of being doctors or reporters or photographers and all these great things, so it's important on the awareness side that hey you need to know what to look for if you are being approached, if you are being groomed, you need to know who to call."
Bussey says the silver lining is that organizations in NWLA are making a stand.
"On the front end it does sound really scary, but the great thing, especially here in Shreveport-Bossier, is we have a huge rally of people, which is what the ceremony is all about," Bussey exclaimed.
"They are saying hey not in my city, not today."
The annual Guardian of Children Award will also be presented to an individual recognized for their extensive work in the field of human trafficking prevention.