AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - With all the excitement of everything Masters-related comes some serious concerns for crime. I spoke with a local organization that has some insight, provides resources, and is working to bring awareness to human trafficking.
Interstate 20: It’s how thousands of people make their way into Augusta each year for the Masters. And, like clockwork, you can expect things like hotel prices And the chances of human trafficking to increase. This same interstate is used to transport those victims into town.
“We see a lot of influx of human trafficking victims, a lot more people coming in trying to make money, a lot more abuses bringing in victims in order to make money this week,” says Vianca Anderson, a bilingual counselor at the Cumbee Center. Major interstate corridors and huge sporting events make it easy for human trafficking victims to be transported and put to work. The Cumbee Center is a safe haven for victims holistically and confidently taking care of their needs. “We help provide them the legal services they need so they can leave their abuser without being concerned that they’re going to be disclosed. The location of the shelter is completely anonymous. The services are very confidential.”
People who perpetuate the illegal selling of humans rely on a number of tactics to manipulate and control men, women and children.
Teacher Shahona Cobb says, “I think the big misconception is ‘it’s not going to happen to me.’” But it can. Sometimes, violently, like kidnapping. Sometimes subtly, like with kindness. That’s why it’s important to get educated and be aware of your surroundings. “Make sure you know where you’re going, when you’re coming back, who you’re with.”
And if you see something, call law enforcement or an advocacy group, that can get victims the help they need. Some signs that someone is a victim of human trafficking are avoiding eye contact, unexplained bruises, and someone who is fearful or aggressive towards law enforcement. You can click here to learn more.