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‘Stop Trafficking Louisiana’ Donna Edwards’ initiative to stop human trafficking

Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 7:39 PM CDT
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Baton Rouge, LA (KPLC) - Terrible crimes like human trafficking can often hide in plain sight. That’s why Louisiana’s first lady Donna Edwards is raising awareness that “no neighborhood is immune.”

“A young girl was actually discovered in a cage in our hometown, and she was being trafficked by her own family. It was in our papers and everywhere. And I was like wow, I mean it’s in our own back yard, so they have to believe it and know it now,” Edwards said.

Edwards tells of stories hitting too close to home. She explains it’s easy to be unaware of human trafficking happening in your own neighborhood even if you think it’s something that would never happen there.

“It’s something that you think ‘oh that’s so far away, that’s a foreign issue. That’s not really something that is local,’ but yet it is. And it happens to our own children. These are not children from a different country that are trafficked. They’re right here in our state,” Edwards said.

Edwards said human trafficking is happening to men, women and children; forced to take part in sexual acts for profit.

Social media can often be a hot spot for traffickers to bait their victims.

“The trickery that is used in trafficking some of these victims is just unbelievable,” Edwards said. “Handing a phone and social media to our 9 and 10-year-old young people in our lives is really something we need to think about. You’re literally handing them a gateway to who knows what.”

With increased education and awareness, Edwards hopes her initiatives can play a part in putting a stop to human trafficking.

“The more that we become aware of it and understand that it is right there in our own communities,” Edwards said. “And you know, it goes back to the saying ‘see something say something.’ You know, I often say long gone are the days of that’s not our business. You know, we use to tell our kids that’s none of our business, but it is. When a life is in danger, it’s absolutely our business.”

For more information about the First Lady’s ‘Stop Trafficking Louisiana: Trafficking is R.E.A.L.!” initiative, CLICK HERE.

To access the Louisiana Human Trafficking Prevention Resources, CLICK HERE.

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