Mayor proclaims Jan. 11 “Human Trafficking Awareness Day”

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Leanne West

Pictured L-R: Judge Kim Chaney (task force member), Kathy Wilson (task force chair), Blakely Hopper (task force secretary) and Mayor Jacobs

CULLMAN –  On Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs officially proclaimed Jan. 11, 2017 “Human Trafficking Awareness Day” in the city of Cullman.

Human trafficking, often referred to as “modern-day slavery,” involves the use of coercion, force or fraud to get victims to perform labor or commercial sex acts against their will. The majority of victims are pre-teens or teenagers. Human trafficking is a large and thriving criminal industry that can be found throughout the world. The Cullman County Human Trafficking Task Force was organized to work with local law enforcement and other agencies to help prevent human trafficking in our community. They strive to increase awareness by holding public meetings and sponsoring community events designed to educate the public on human trafficking. They also advocate for changes in local, regional and state policies related to human trafficking. The volunteer task force is made up of individuals from various departments and agencies throughout the community.

“Human trafficking is a problem everywhere, even here in our community,” said Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs. “I greatly respect the work that the task force has done and continues to do to help prevent this terrible crime in Cullman and Cullman County.”

On hand to accept the proclamation from Jacobs were Kim Chaney (task force member and Cullman County District Court judge), Kathy Wilson (task force chair and Cullman County Juvenile Probation officer) and Blakely Hopper (task force secretary and Cullman Child Advocacy Center forensic interviewer).

 “I am glad to present this proclamation in order to help get the word out about this terrible crime,” added Jacobs. 

The Cullman County Human Trafficking Task Force cautions people to understand that young victims are often lured into traps by people they consider friends, or even by family members. Also, because of our close proximity to the interstate and other major highways, Cullman is a prime location for perpetrators of human trafficking.

To find out more about the Cullman County Human Trafficking Task Force, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Cullman-County-Human-Trafficking-Task-Force or send an email to endtrafficking25@gmail.com.

More information on human trafficking in Alabama can be found on www.enditalabama.org or www.stnow.org.

 

FURTHER READING: Cullman County partners with U.S. Department of Homeland Security to combat human trafficking