Local effort to fight human trafficking

It’s a crime that officials say often goes unreported but is heinous.

Human trafficking is the selling of people often for sexual exploitation or labor. Think it doesn’t happen here in Rochester? Think again.

A conference held Tuesday at the RIT Inn and Conference Center brought together people in law enforcement, social services and victims advocates.

We learned that human trafficking is two fold: sex trafficking and trafficking of people for labor. Think migrant workers who come to this region for the growing season

“A lot of times there is a payment that is made by the person in order to be able to participate in coming to the United States and being given a job,” says Ed Suk from the NY branch of National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“They are really sold a false bill of goods, they’re frequently forced into labor to pay off a non-existent debt and they are paid a very, very minimal amount of money, $20 a week, where they are never in a position to pay off this debt.”

What are the stastics? It’s hard to say since this crime is so rarely discovered. After all, the victim doesn’t want to go to the police for fear of being deported.

So it’s often not found until an emergency, like the victim needing to go to the hospital. This group is working together to better spot these cases and better help the victims.

As for sex trafficking and internet sites like Craigslist, a U.S. attorney who spoke today said you could probably find a dozen or more escort websites specifically for your region.

His job is to look into the girls who are advertised, try to research their backgrounds, contact them, find out if they are victims of human trafficking and ultimately take down the organization that is using these often U.S-born women and girls.

source: http://www.whec.com/article/Pstories/S1299149.shtml

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