How you can help identify human trafficking

Updated: Feb. 21, 2018 at 6:35 PM CST
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400 people were rescued from human trafficking last year in Louisiana alone... 30 people have been rescued, so far, this year.

With tomorrow being "Shine a Light on Slavery Day", you can raise awareness by doing one simple task, drawing a red 'X' on the back of your hand.

That red 'X' stands for the millions who cannot stand up for themselves.

"We find people all the time who will do it and then their friends, their neighbors, or even their family members, they find out they've seen human trafficking before or they know someone who's been trafficked," said SWLA Abolitionists Founder, Rusty Havens. "It's a lot closer to us than people think."

Havens says using the 'X' and the hashtags #enditmovement and #SWLAenditmovement will hopefully start conversations about the issue.

"The organization runs into people every day that still don't realize that human trafficking happens here," said Havens.

It may come as a shock to some, but this region is a hot spot for human trafficking with our close proximity to the border, a major interstate, and the gaming industry.

"Here in Lake Charles, human trafficking happens in massage parlors, our casinos, and our hotels, as well as online ads," said Havens.

So, if you ever feel suspicious, Havens says there are certain things to look for.

"If you see someone who's being controlled by another person, if you see someone who doesn't have their ID, if they have signs of physical abuse like bruises," said Havens.

The SWLA Abolitionists host all types of educational events, meet with lawmakers, even help report tips to law enforcement and provide evidence.

Their newest endeavor, training hotel employees to look for signs, just like the airline stewardesses making national headlines.

"I spoke with someone today who pointed that out," said Havens. "She said 'hey, there's all sorts of news stories on TV all sorts of news stories in the newspaper, there's a lot more awareness then there was just a few years ago.'"

That's why Havens says he keeps busy, working hard to shine a light on slavery.

So, if you see something, say something.

Contact local authorities or contact the SWLA Abolitionists at (337) 476-9868.

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