Community awareness credited with helping human trafficking victims during World Games
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Law enforcement officials who worked behind the scenes to track down human traffickers during the World Games credit community awareness in saving victims’ lives.
Federal, state and local law enforcement all worked together on Operation Games STOP during the weeks leading up to and during the World Games.
Officials found seven missing and endangered children, arrested 34 people for soliciting commercial sex, and arrested half a dozen people for human trafficking-related charges.
“We established a hotline for the games as well. That hotline was provided to law enforcement, to the hospitality industry, to the World Games workers,” said Doug Gilmer, Resident Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations in Birmingham.
“That hotline rang every single day with reports of suspected human trafficking.”
Victim services were also provided to trafficking victims by multiple organizations such as The WellHouse.
According to The WellHouse website, it “provides residential, therapeutic programs to female victims of human trafficking who have been sexually exploited, offering medical, spiritual, mental, and emotional care.”
“Human trafficking, whether it’s labor trafficking or sex trafficking, it is happening in our communities. The best, and the worst, and in the middle, and around our state. And we need to see these efforts continued,” said Carolyn Potter, The WellHouse CEO.
More than 35 sex and labor trafficking victims, some of them minors, were identified and are now receiving services.
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