The Mississippi Department of Transportation announced Friday that it has joined state and national agencies to recognize January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
“Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers profit from the control and exploitation of others. Traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his/her will,” MDOT said in a news release.
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) reported 86 cases of some form of human trafficking in Mississippi in 2018 and 10,949 cases in the United States, the release said.
“MDOT’s Office of Enforcement plays a critical role in combating this crime and uncovering these victims,” said Melinda McGrath, P.E., MDOT Executive Director. “All MDOT Enforcement officers are trained on how to identify and police human trafficking on state highways and at weigh stations.”
According to MDOT, human trafficking indicators include:
• Living with employer
• Multiple people in crammed living spaces
• Inability to speak to an individual alone
• Employer holding identity documents
• Signs of physical abuse
• Submissive or fearful
• Poor living conditions
The public can report information about a potential trafficking situation by calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free at 1-888-373-7888. Anonymous tips can also be submitted online at www.humantraffickinghotline.org or by emailing email@example.com.