Human Trafficking Awareness In Anchorage

Many organizations in Alaska are working together to end the tragedy and illegal practice of human trafficking.

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by Russ Slaten

Original Air Date: January 11, 2012

Many organizations in Alaska are working together to end the tragedy and illegal practice of human trafficking. Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan proclaims tomorrow to be a day of human trafficking awareness.

Many Alaskans are unaware of the practice of human trafficking within the state, but the mayor-- and the organizations that fight the problem everyday-- want citizens to take light of a dark matter affecting the nation and the state.

In a news conference today, Mayor Sullivan thanked representatives from the Anchorage Police Department.. the Federal Bureau of Investigation and non-profit groups-- the Salvation Army, Covenant House and Soroptimist International.

The U.S. State Department estimates about 17,500 people-- including children-- are trafficked into the nation's borders, 80% of which are women and 50% being minors.

The FBI says human trafficking is not only a problem in the city, but in rural areas as well. The FBI says sex trafficking exists in more urban areas in which the victims become physically abused and coerced. Labor trafficking targeting illegal aliens, occurs after the offender takes the person's form of identification. Both forms involve threats and abuse.

"If they see someone who could potentially be a victim, or who might become a victim, they should try and do something about it, and try to educate them about the dangers of human trafficking. It's important for people to educate themselves so that they can recognize the signs and make a difference," said Stephanie Freeman, Social Justice Captain of Salvation Army-Alaska.

The Covenant House says human trafficking is something they see on a daily basis, and say it's a high priority issue in the state.