This week, Michigan State Police officers are partnering with the Ohio State Highway patrol, and the Illinois and Indiana State Police to raise awareness about human trafficking.
The awareness education is aimed toward commercial motor vehicle drivers, public transportation companies, rest area attendants and truck stop employees.
A non-profit organization, Truckers Against Trafficking, has helped the state police reach their audience since 2015.
“The biggest thing I tell people is know your area, know your surroundings and when you see something that is outside of the norm, that is your biggest red flag,” Nathan Daugherty with the Michigan Police said.
Possible indicators of a potential trafficking situation can include:
- Person has injuries or shows signs of physical abuse
- Person appears malnourished
- Person seems disoriented and doesn't know where he or she is
- They avoid eye contact and appear hesitant to talk to strangers
- Person seems fearful of authority figures, especially law enforcement
- Person seems to be accompanied by someone who controls their every move
Daugherty said human trafficking is difficult to discuss, but it’s important to have open conversations to help inform people about the signs of potential trafficking situations.
He said there was a multi-state operation in recovering potentially exploited children. He said after that operation, there was falsified information going around the public.
“Michigan had the second most recoveries of that operation,” Daugherty said. “That’s how the rumor started of Michigan being number two, but as far as which state is worse compared to another state, unfortunately there is no data to prove one way or the other.”
Many non-profit organizations like, Truckers Against Trafficking collect their own information regarding the issue. However, there is no federal program that collects data. Daugherty said he would support a federal program or grant that would start compiling national data because it would be easier to have data driven results.
To report a potential human trafficking situation, call the nationwide, toll free hotline: National Human Trafficking Resources Center at 888-373-7888 or text BeFree to 233733