WELCH, WV (WOAY) – Educators in McDowell County get a chance to learn about human trafficking and how to spot it.
It’s part of an initiative from the West Virginia Attorney General’s office to fight against the growing issue.
Senior Deputy Attorney Genera Robert Leslie says human trafficking in West Virginia is caused stemmed from a variety of problems, often leading to drastic consequences.
“What we saw around the state were people addicted to drugs being placed into such economic hardship in an effort to chase that addiction, that they were being forced to sell themselves, and sometimes even drastically enough to sell their own children,” Leslie said.
Human trafficking is a huge issue across the entire country, and West Virginia is no exception. In 2019, there were 93 cases of human trafficking across the state.
Human trafficking has been prevalent in many areas surrounding McDowell County, and they wanted to go straight to educators to give them the tools to notice and report it. Educators are with children almost every day, and will be some of the first people to notice something wrong.
“Morrisey immediately recognized this problem and wanted to do something through our office to stem this issue. He developed a training program that we have done around the state with law enforcement, healthcare providers and educators.”
Typical red flags in human trafficking include a child or young adult having changes in theor appearance and behavior, and even having money or expensive items you would not expect them to. If you notice a red flag and suspect something, you should call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or the West Virginia State Police.
Through the program, the Attorney General’s Office has offered training to more than 7,000 people around the state.