LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s no secret that human trafficking is a wide-spread problem and it’s one not going away anytime soon.
It’s a growing epidemic here in Lansing and across the country but, what is being done about it?
Human trafficking happens everywhere, where you least expect it and often times to people you wouldn’t think are victims.
“What I see is…a lot of woman have been trafficking victims but just didn’t know it,” said Sexual Assault Advocate at “The Safe Center” Gina Reynolds.
Reynolds interacts with victims of trafficking almost daily and says in most cases girls become victims when they are young.
“Usually in adolescence they got into prostitution, they got with a perpetrator who kind of subtly got them involved into sex trafficking but they never knew it until someone said ‘hey this is what this is called,’” Reynolds stated.
Reynolds is a member of the Capital Area Anti-Trafficking Alliance.
The team is working to stop this form of modern-day slavery as more women fall victim to it.
“We’re seeing them at HIV infection clinics, we’re seeing them in doctors’ offices for STD’s and unplanned pregnancies…they’re being seen every day,” Capital Area Anti-Trafficking Alliance Chairperson LaClaire Bouknight said.
Overcoming this problem is the ultimate goal as the issue isn’t going away.
And today the task force is focused on educating the community…from the court systems to hospitals and everyone in between, in hopes that victims can not only be identified, but rescued from the horrific situation.
“I look at human trafficking like this very secret taboo secret society and it’s very hard to break through those walls to get inside to understand what’s happening. What it really comes down to is the ground work,” said Reynolds.
There are places right here in Mid-Michigan that can help victims of human trafficking as well as a hotline people can call.
That number is 1-888-373-7888.