Wesley House hosts a walk to bring awareness to human trafficking in our own community

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 5:39 PM CST
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) -Human trafficking is an issue that is taking over the country, but many people don’t know that human trafficking is intertwined within their own community.

“A lot of the times, we think that human trafficking happens in these really big cities or in highly populated areas, but human trafficking happens right here in Meridian, Ms., and so we’re wanting to let our community know and raise awareness about that, and so that’s what we’re doing here today,” said Community Outreach Prevention Coordinator for Wesley House, Julianna Stephens.

But what is human trafficking?

“If you have another person that is profiting. In any way. Off of the sexual services or labor of another person. You have human trafficking,” said Mississippi Bureau of Investigation Human Trafficking, Special Victims Unit Analyst, Heather Collins.

And signs are sometimes obvious, but you might just look over them. Like if a person is living in poorer conditions, multiple people cramped in a house, and even employers withholding personal documents are all signs of human trafficking.

“We’ve seen cases in our unit specifically where we’ve had, you know. It’s that have given access to their child in exchange for gas money, a place to live, and things like that. So that is extremely common in Mississippi as well as other states throughout the country,” said Collins

friday’s walk brought awareness to the victims and shed light on the problem that is human trafficking.

To report a potential case of human trafficking you can visit the MBI’s website by clicking here.