JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s something that has a powerful hold over thousands of people across the country, human trafficking.
While some resources have been dedicated to stopping it, this dangerous activity can sometimes be hard to spot.
A special forum in Jackson County is looking to change that by educating health care professionals.
It’s a growing problem that organizers of the forum say they had to do something about.
“We thought the best thing we can do is bring health care professionals together to have this discussion,” said Debbie Muhich, a local registered nurse and forum organizer.
The Stop Human Trafficking Forum at Jackson College connected medical professionals with law enforcement and advocates to learn more about the issue and spot the signs.
Advocates say the modern sex trade is changing and trafficking often goes unseen because of the internet.
Rebecca McDonald, president of the organization Women at Risk, spoke at the forum.
“This isn’t some creepy man in the parking lot. This is girls recruiting girls. A lot of human traffickers are women today,” McDonald said.
Experts say in order to notice human trafficking you need realize it’s happening in your town.
In fact, they say Jackson is becoming an attractive place for traffickers.
McDonald says Jackson has easy access to highways and is used as a connection to bigger cities.
“Lansing, Detroit, those areas around here you have way more of that industry happening. So it’s wherever you have plans, trains, automobiles, ports,” McDonald said.
Watch for kids, teens and young adults who look out of place or appear to be under the control of another person.
“When things don’t make sense, pay attention and record it, write it down,” McDonald said.
Also speaking at the forum was Jordan Ginsberg.
He’s a Jackson native who is now an Assistant Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in Louisiana.
Ginsberg has prosecuted numerous human trafficking cases and says law enforcement can’t do it alone.
“It may well be a teacher, or somebody who works at a pharmacy, or some kind of medical professional who recognizes the signs of a child being victimized and alert law enforcement,” Ginsberg said.
Visit this link for more information on how to report human trafficking: https://humantraffickinghotline.org/