Human Trafficking Awareness session help guide agencies how to spot signs

Human Trafficking Awareness session help guide agencies how to spot signs

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Georgia is ranked one of the worst states for human trafficking according to the annual report by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. On Wednesday several law enforcement agencies came together to learn how to spot the signs.

The G.B.I. Marshall's Office and the Richmond County Sheriff's Office were just a few agencies apart of the Human Trafficking Awareness Training.

"All of my guys work in the streets pretty much every day. We work the hotels, we work the interstates, we basically work the whole county. We have a lot of encounters with traffic stops," says Lt. Robbie Silas.

Lt. Silas is with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office and has seen human trafficking sky rocket to one of the top crimes in our area. "The criminal minds are getting better and better every day, they are getting very creative with social media."

With the help of a special grant awarded to the rotary club, officers were able to learn how to spot the signs.

"We know that it's helpful and our judicial systems keeps coming back for more saying this is helpful and this is why we need your help with this training," says Elizabeth Szoka, co-founder of the nonprofit "I'm aware," which deals with different aspects of human trafficking.

Szoka says if there's anything she wants law enforcement to take away from this, it would be not to judge a book by its cover. "The vast majority of the people that we see in these situations that we jump to these conclusions to have probably not made that choice on their own and there's a driving force behind that."

And it's certainly valuable information that Lt. Silas says his department will use moving forward. "We have more training avenues now then we've ever had before to being able to attend classes like this gives us a step above that criminal."

Click this link for the Facebook Page for "I'm aware"

If you or someone you know is involved in any form of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.

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