Effingham, Il – President Donald Trump has issued a proclamation to make January, a National Slavery/Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
“[We] pledge to do all in our power to end the horrific practice of human trafficking that plagues innocent victims around the world,” President Trump stated in the proclamation issued in December.
Locally, Effingham Police Chief Jeff Fuesting, said that the Effingham Police Department (EPD) has not had to investigate any cases of human trafficking over the past 12 months.
However, he did mention that EPD detectives have received training on this topic within the past year.
“Many large metropolitan [law enforcement] agencies have units or task forces combating these issues.
Those units/task forces do have a large geographic area they sometimes cover not just the metropolitan areas.
If need be we could also call upon those units from the STL Metro region to assist,” said Chief Fuesting.
“We also partner with federal agencies including Homeland Security.”
The Department of Defense, issued a memorandum from Robert Wilkie, the current Undersecretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness).
In the memo, Wilkie indicated his support of President’s Trump proclamation and encouraged members of the Department of Defense to promote awareness of the issue throughout the month of January.
“We, as a community, must come together to raise a unified voice against human trafficking,” stated Wilkie in the memo.
According to an article released by the Department of Defense, Anthony M. Kurta, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy, also expressed support for awareness of human trafficking at a recent Pentagon Force Protection Agency’s seminar.
Kurta said that those who engage in human trafficking exploit the weak and the vulnerable.
“It not only destroys the lives of those victimized, but also destroys countless families and poses a direct threat to the security and well-being of the entire world,” he added.
“While many believe slavery no longer exists, it has merely evolved,” according to Mary Harrington of the Sexual Assault, and Family Emergencies (SAFE) organization.
Harrington spoke to us about how young women and men are forced into slavery, and sex trafficking.
Harrington expressed that in the 11 counties the organizations serves what they seem to finding significant is “dumping” where pimps will get rid of their victims in rural areas so as they have less of a chance of making it back to the city they originally traveled from.
Additionally, Harrington shared that its so common in her service area from all the major intersections that cross through.
She expressed that many of the victims who have come across the region were Latino(a), and most of the time did not speak English.
“With this area having a low latino(a) was always considered a prime location to “dump” the victims.” expressed Harrington
According to results in the 2016 census, the latino(a) population adds up to about 1.9% of the total population in the city.
“While the rates are not high in the local area, cases like these still exist.” added Harrington.
Any tips related to Slavery/Human trafficking please contact the Effingham Police Department.
For information on how to prevent slavery/human trafficking please contact SAFE at (217) 342-6623. SAFE serves the 11 counties with office locations in Effingham, Vandalia, Centralia, and Mt. Vernon.