Local non-profit says human trafficking could look different than what you’d expect

What human trafficking can look like
Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 6:20 PM CDT
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PELHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A local non-profit said the arrest of a Trussville doctor, accused of trying to lure a 17-year-old patient to a hotel for money, is a wake-up call for parents and caregivers.

The president and founder of Blanket Fort Hope, Alexa James, said sex traffickers can look like anyone and they can often be people you already know and trust.

“Human trafficking comes in so many different forms,” James said.

“It could be a doctor, it could be a teacher, it could be a deacon, a priest, it could be someone that you work with because they don’t look like scary people. They’re normal people just like you and I out trying to find a way to make money,” she explained.

And for this reason, James said it’s important to be picky about who you trust with your children, even your physician.

Blount County investigators arrested a Trussville doctor after they said he inappropriately touched a 17-year-old patient, sent her sexual texts, and even tried to meet her at a hotel in exchange for money.

“So, we just can’t take people at face value, unfortunately. There still needs to be a family member present whether it’s your parents or another family member, that doctor needs to know that you’re there. If a nurse is not in the room with your child when they’re with a doctor, they don’t need to go in with them,” James said.

But James said social media also plays a big role, so you need to monitor your children’s activity online.

“So, you need to know what’s going on with social media with your children. I know you don’t want to interrupt them, and you feel like you’re in their space, well, it’s your job to be in their space. Okay? That’s why we’re parents,” James said.

James also recommends checking in with your kids regularly especially if you see changes in their grades and behavior.

She said don’t be afraid to ask them questions about new tattoos, clothing, jewelry, friends, and money because these could be signs that something bigger is going on.

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