|CHICAGO (WBBM) — The state of Illinois, the Salvation Army and others are trying to shed more light on a problem they say is one we don’t often think about or recognize: human trafficking. Primarily in the illegal sex industry.The government says fewer than 20-thousand people a year are sneaked into the United States to be used in the seamy sex trade industry and for cheap labor. But…experts say there are far more United States citizens used that way….as slaves….part of the illegal human trafficking problem. Col. David Grindell of the Salvation Army says his organization has been fighting the problem for more than 100 years, starting in London, England in 1885.Col. Grindell says not just immigrants or women are used in the illicit sex trade. So are boys and girls.He says that, when rescued, the Salvation Army has “some save havens” when the victims can live and get away from those who had once controlled them.
This Saturday posters will be put up throughout the state at highway rest stops, gas stations and elsewhere with a number to call to report human trafficking or for a victim to cal for help.
A man who’d rather just be identified as Frank works to rescue women, boys and girls caught up in human trafficking. He says generally most people see prostitutes and just want them locked up, that they don’t realize that they may be victims too.
Frank says if you see prostitutes on the street and “someone in control is standing by” in other words -a pimp- that’s a “key street indicator” someone is a victim of human trafficking.
Saturday the state plans to stage clinics for 1st responders on ways to recognize victims of human trafficking and where to call to help rescue them. 150 first responders from the Chicago area alone are expected to attend.
The Salvation Army’s 24 hour hotline to report human trafficking is: 1-877-606-3158.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline run by the government will be on the poster that’s distributed this weekend. That number is: 888-373-7888.
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