January is National Human Trafficking awareness and prevention month.
Unfortunately, it happens in Louisiana and in every state in America.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery.
Traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to lure victims… and it can and does happen in Louisiana.
“Human trafficking involves the exploitation of persons who are used for sex or forced labor and we want our people to know that it’s very possible that it can happen here,” said St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz.
According to the Associated Press, human trafficking is expected to increase during the Super Bowl in Miami.
Officials are asking hotel workers, ride-hailing service drivers and security personnel to be especially alert.
“We have zero tolerance here. We’ll come after you, but we also need the public and our residents support and help,” stated Mayor of Miami-Dade County Carlos Gimenez.
In Louisiana, the special victims unit of state police deals with human trafficking and child exploitation.
State Police Troop I spokesperson Thomas Gossen recommends that parents be vigilant at all times to keep their children from becoming victims.
“You have to know what your child’s passwords are, know what your child’s codes are to get in their phone,” Gossen said. “So a lot of people say, ‘Well, I don’t want to invade their privacy.’ The problem is, if you don’t, the predator will.’