NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, part of January being designated for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Michigan State Police wants the people of the U.P. to be aware of warning signs before someone becomes a victim
MSP says victims are tricked into trafficking by someone they know and trust which can lead to drug addiction. Boys and girls as young as 12 to 13 are at risk for trafficking, along with those that live with disabilities.
MSP Trooper Stacey Rasanen suggests parents talk to their teens about their relationships and the dangers of the internet.
"We are checking for this, we are actively involved and we need others eyes and ears," said Rasanen. "Anybody can be a victim, they can be tricked into a situation and get hooked on some form of drugs that would lead them to these situations."
MSP has done sting operations in lower and upper Northern Michigan.
They encourage people to watch for signs of human trafficking and report them. Some warning signs include:
- Unexplained absences from school
- Inability to attend school on a regular basis
- Chronically runs away from home
- Makes references to frequent travels to other cities
- Sudden changes in behavior or material possessions
- Makes reference to sexual situations that are beyond age-specific norms
- Drug addictions
- Injuries or signs of physical abuse
- Appears malnourished
- Seems disoriented
- Has few personal possessions; May wear same clothes for several days, regardless of weather
- No identification or proper documents
- Avoids eye contact
- Fearful of authority figures
- Can't come and go independently