MONTGOMERY, Ala. (EETV) – Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has joined Georgia-based nonprofit organization, Street Grace, and 10 other attorneys general in participating in an effort to raise public awareness of sex trafficking in Alabama. January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Alabama and January 11, 2018, is Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
“Human trafficking is the second largest criminal business in the world and it has been allowed to flourish because it remains largely hidden from public view,” said Attorney General Steve Marshall. “Human trafficking and, in particular sex trafficking, is occurring every day in communities all across Alabama. The victims are often minors who have been lured into the most frightening and despicable abuses imaginable.
“As a prosecutor in North Alabama for 16 years, I have personally witnessed how human traffickers manipulate and virtually enslave their victims. These criminals often target runaway teens, forcing them into prostitution. More than a half million victims are trafficked in the United States every year with many passing through Alabama along our major highways. Some of the most used routes for human trafficking are I-10, I-20, I-65 and I-85.
“While law enforcement is devoting more time and resources to look for human traffickers, I have joined other attorneys general in partnering with the nonprofit group Street Grace in helping to raise awareness of sex trafficking through the DEMAND AN END initiative. In a public service announcement entitled “Unmasked” released this month by my office, we make it known that those people who buy the services of sex traffickers will also be caught and prosecuted.”
“The goal for the DEMAND AN END initiative is to create a nationwide, inclusive campaign under a single brand that will create awareness and provide education regarding the issues and solutions to end sex trafficking by addressing the demand. Additionally, local authorities are trained to recognize and report suspected cases of sex trafficking,” said Bob Rodgers, CEO of Street Grace. “In addition, DEMAND AN END aims to aid in the training of law enforcement and judicial officials so that they are better equipped to investigate, arrest, recognize and aggressively prosecute buyers and traffickers. By committing to becoming a DEMAND AN END state, Attorney General Marshall is sending a clear message to all who wish to harm our children by letting them know that the state of Alabama is a hostile environment for buyers of sex and traffickers. Clearly this is a priority for Attorney General Marshall and we are honored to join with him in support of this mission.”
States joining DEMAND AN END include Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico and South Carolina, as well as the District of Columbia. More information about DEMAND AN END can be found at www.streetgrace.org/demand-an-
“Criminal activity thrives when there is a market for it and I applaud DEMAND AN END and Attorney General Marshall for focusing attention on the customers of sex trafficking,” said Pat McCay of the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force. “Those who support sex trafficking are not anonymous and they will be held accountable.”
Attorney General Marshall is also a member of the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force that was established to fight all forms of human trafficking and assist in aiding the victims of this terrible crime. More information about the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force can be found at www.ENDITAlabama.org.
“Alabamians can also play a valuable role in combating human trafficking by being aware of suspicious activity in public places and reporting it promptly to local law enforcement,” added Attorney General Marshall. “Human trafficking is not someone else’s problem, it is a crime against our children and our society.”
To report suspected human trafficking or to request help in Alabama, contact your local law enforcement. You may also contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP to BeFree (233733).