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Longview seminar details risk factors for human trafficking

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Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 2:26 PM CST
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Herded like cattle, human trafficking is largely under-reported, and only a fraction of traffickers are ever caught.ng.

A continuing mission for United Way chapters across the country, and the Greater Longview United Way, is the fight against human trafficking.

“If you look at where reported trafficking happens in Texas, you get the big areas. Dallas, Houston. But if you look on the map there’s 2 dots. That’s Tyler and that’s Longview. Areas of known human trafficking,” says Dr. Evan Dolive, director of the Greater Longview United Way.

Migrants, those with mental health issues, runaways and the homeless are often vulnerable to traffickers, and most often victimized. Leading to forced labor or sex trafficking.

“They get roped into a situation and meet somebody and that person promises them job and money, then they come to find out it’s not what they thought it was,” Dolive says.

Herded like cattle, human trafficking is largely underreported, and only a fraction of traffickers are ever caught.

“It’s people at high risk who may have some specific vulnerabilities. To set them up to become a victim of that,” says Longview police detective Debra Stiles.

It could be happening under our noses every day. The interstates are a corridor for human trafficking.

FBI statistics show only one in 100 victims of trafficking are ever identified.

Interviewing victims is the best way to get information on trafficking, but often difficult.

“A lot of times victims in these cases are very scared to talk to law enforcement. Whether it be fearful of the traffickers themselves, or fearful of getting into law enforcement trouble,” Stiles says.

But a problem that needs an answer.

“It’s happening right here in our backyard,” Dolive says.

2019 statistics show 11,500 situations of human trafficking reported to the National Human Trafficking hot line.

It involved 22,326 individual survivors; and over 4-thousand traffickers.

If you need to report human trafficking you can do so by calling- 1 -888- 373-7888 or log onto Human Trafficking hotline.org.

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