Pandemic closures raise child sex trafficking concerns

Published: Aug. 9, 2020 at 12:04 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - With more children at home, experts across the nation are predicting higher rates of human trafficking, and with many students being schooled virtually, the cause for concern is even higher.

Commander over investigations for the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, Gene Pittman explained, in general, law enforcement relies on schools to be aware of crimes against children.

Pittman says, “The fact that school has essentially been out since March of this year, and the typical outlet for children to have an outcry as a victim of any type of crime has not been there, that is a concern for us.”

According to Pittman, with more children at home, sex trafficking and other crimes are a concern.

“We do expect that we will see an influx but not necessarily just for sex trafficking,” Pittman said. “But obviously if somebody or a child is a victim of sex trafficking or is being groomed for sex trafficking, that’s an alley we don’t really have right now.”

As a result of not having that alley, Pittman is asking for parents and those around the child to be more aware and involved. He explained, the more awareness you have, the more you’re going to know when something is wrong.

“One thing for any parent when it comes to anything when it comes to your child of any age is to be aware,” Pittman said. “Be involved, be aware of what your child is doing, be aware of who they’re with, who’s their social circles, who’s their friends.”

To report any incidents, call the Sheriff’s Office at (337)-491-3600.

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