Human trafficking awareness in Alaska
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The crime of human trafficking affects the safety, health, and dignity of millions of people around the world, including Alaska.
Most victims are women and girls, LGBTQI+ individuals, vulnerable migrants, and those in historically marginalized and undeserved communities, according to a press release from the White House.
Awareness of human trafficking is recognized around the nation during the month of January.
In coordination with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Department of Transportation through the Blue Lightning Initiative the Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) is training its employees to be more vigilant and aware of signs that someone might be a victim of trafficking. Airport Police and Fire will also receive the advanced training. Program manager Brandi Bynum says FAI will be the second Alaskan airport to do so. According to the airport, it is important to remember that all modes of transportation can be used for trafficking. If you see any suspicious activity, you can report it to dhs.gov.
The Alaska State Troopers (AST) have a dedicated unit that travels the state conducting intelligence operations and undercover operations with the sole purpose of identifying victims and helping them get the services they need. AST works with local law enforcement and federal partners in these operations, as well as non-profits and victim advocacy centers.
While National Sex Trafficking Awareness Day was recognized on Wednesday, January 11, AST reminds the public that law enforcement takes sex trafficking very seriously every day of the year.
“If you see signs of someone who is walking the street, severely underdressed for the winter, someone with recent injuries or signs of abuse, or someone who looks malnourished or just extremely disheveled, or a tattoo of a crown or a males name somewhere on their body, and especially if you see a combination of these or if there is a recent cluster of these signs that could be an indicator that someone is possibly being sex trafficked,” said AST Lt. Scott Bartlett.
AST is asking the public to be vigilant, and if you see something, say something.
Reports can be made in person to the Fairbanks Alaska State Troopers at 1979 Peger Rd. or by phone to (907) 451-5100. Anonymous tips can be made via the AKtips app, available for download for free via the Google Play Store, iTunes App Store, or at dps.alaska.gov/tips.
Updated on January 18, 2023 with additional information.
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