Law enforcement highlights human trafficking awareness month

Push to end human trafficking in WNY

Mike Baggerman
January 28, 2020 - 3:59 pm

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - United States Attorney General William Barr called on US Attorneys to re-double efforts to combat human trafficking.

US Attorney of WNY, JP Kennedy, said the call last week was intended to further emphasize prosecution of the nearly 2,000 cases across the country in 2019. In Buffalo, Kennedy said they are ahead of the curve.

"Last year, in 2019...our prosecutions increased from 2 the prior year to 18 last year," Kennedy said. "We've really amped up our numbers. The individuals that we are prosecuting are for some of the most heinous crimes that we do prosecute in our district. The sentences reflect that."

Two people were sentenced last year to decades behind bars. There are still two more scheduled to be sentenced later this month in Rochester.

The push for prosecution of human trafficking comes during the waning days of human trafficking awareness month where authorities are highlighting the importance of debunking myths associated with human trafficking. Click here for myths on human trafficking that were debunked by the FBI.

Authorities emphasize that you can be on alert for human trafficking by noticing someone with limited movement and are being controlled by someone else. Kevin Kelly with Homeland Security Investigations said a victim of human trafficking could be seen moving in the direction of someone else, but they seem confused or lost.

"A lot of it is a person controlling another person and telling them what to do," Kelly said. "A victim of trafficking hides in plain sight. Some of it is hard to detect and some of it is not."

To report instances of human trafficking, you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 and you can visit www.wnytrafficking.org. Kennedy released a PSA on human trafficking, see the video by clicking the top of our news story.

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