Michigan State Police give tips on identifying human trafficking

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - With the recent arrest of seven people in Menominee County during a human trafficking investigation, Michigan State Police (MSP) are educating the public on how to identify the signs of human trafficking.

"Human trafficking can be broken down into two types. One is sexual trafficking and that often involves minor children, specifically girls. There can also be labor trafficking which is the coercion or taking advantage of migrant workers," said MSP Det. Robert Pernaski.

Pernaski says there are many “red flags” that victims of human trafficking often exhibit.

"If someone is very quiet, submissive, hesitant to talk for themselves when they're in a public setting, often times they're under the control of somebody else,” Pernaski said.

He adds that sometimes, these emotional indicators are accompanied by physical indicators.

"There could be cuts, bruising, and there could be a lack of explanation as to why the injury happened,” he said.

Although human trafficking is not as prevalent in the Upper Peninsula as it is in urban areas, Pernaski adds that it's still something to be on the lookout for.

"We'd like to be proactive and build a good awareness out there for not only persons in public safety, but for the general public,” he said.

Pernaski adds that stopping human trafficking is a joint effort between the community and law enforcement.

"Let's all be aware that this can happen and let's try to combat it the best we can,” Pernaski said.

All seven men involved in the Menominee County case are out on bond as of Tuesday. They will be arraigned on Wednesday, August 28, where their names will then be released. TV6 and FOX UP will continue to update the story as more information becomes available.

If you or someone you know is in a dangerous situation involving human trafficking, call 911.

For Michigan statistics on human trafficking, click here.

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