State and local leaders address rise in human trafficking

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller (left) standing next to Allen County Health Commissioner Deborah McMahan (right) at a press conference discussing human trafficking prevention.
A poster promoting human trafficking  training for health officials.
A poster promoting human trafficking training for health officials.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Human trafficking is tied as the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined with Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan to raise awareness for Human Trafficking Prevention Month on Thursday.

During a press conference, McMahan highlighted a case in Indiana where nurses at a hospital were able to identify a sexual trafficking victim through special training. McMahan wants to encourage people to get the training and learn more about these efforts.

“Our society is far too tolerant of the commercial sex industry, and we are paying the price,” Zoeller said in a release. “Human trafficking and sexual exploitation crimes continue to grow, and a terrifying number of victims are children.”

The average age at which children in the U.S. first become a victim of sex trafficking is between 12-14 years old. The average age someone involved in prostitution dies is at 34-years-old.

“Human trafficking is one of those issues that people think can’t possibly happen here,’” McMahan said. “But sadly, even communities in northeast Indiana need to be prepared to identify and assist victims of this type of abuse.”

In 2014, more than 100 human trafficking tips were investigated by state, federal and nonprofit agencies.

In Indiana courts, five trafficking cases ended in convictions, and five more trafficking cases await trial across the state.

“If we are going to put an end to human trafficking in Indiana, it will take a multidisciplinary approach focused on education, awareness and intervention,” McMahan said. “We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues around the state to equip members of our region to address this significant public health issue.”

Anyone who would like to learn more or who would like to schedule human trafficking prevention training event can contact humantraffickinginfo@atg.in.gov.

 

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