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Human Trafficking is an illegal business that generates hundreds of billions of dollars by forcing men, women, and children into forced labor (slavery) and sexual exploitation. The 2008 movie Taken is about a former CIA agent tracking down his teenage daughter after she is kidnapped by sex traffickers. Technology has enabled traffickers to move from the streets to the internetBackpage, Craigslist, and other online advertisers I believe have enabled and have been complicit with this growing tragedy. Locally, the 517 Child Predator Exposures Facebook group aiming to catch child predators is accused of cyberbullying.  I disagree.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month – spread the word. Recently elected Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says “Michigan won’t harbor these criminals or anyone who lines their pockets by exploiting people and preying on our children.”  Twenty-five million people per year are pulled into this epidemic – 60% are children.  Victims are often targeted because of their vulnerabilities, including recent geographic relocation, substance abuse issues, homelessness, runaways, and children entered into government social services or foster care program failures; but it can happen to anyone, at any time.

I am currently reading The Slave Next Door, which begins with accounts of trafficked domestic workers under the control of their keepers – diplomats in Washington, D.C. The book is preparing me for an intensive 2-day training workshop with the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force. At my first meeting, some of the horror stories of R. Kelly were exposed.  There are many forces at work trying to keep the public from knowing about just how big a problem human trafficking is in the USA and around the world.  I will identify some of the many corporate America industries propping up this trade in subsequent parts.

If you suspect human trafficking, report it.  Call US Immigration and Customs Enforcement at 866-347-2423 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.  Locally, call the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – Division of Victim Services at 517-335-6300.

Survivors of human trafficking are not like traditional tort victims.  Trial lawyers like those at Grewal Law, PLLC, have been trained and are experienced in representing survivors and ready to help empower them to take back control and obtain justice through the civil legal system.  It is a process.

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