The number of human trafficking cases reported in Mississippi over the past year has doubled. MPB's Kobee Vance reports on how the state is fighting the issue.
More than 400 law enforcement officials, citizens, and community leaders from around the state met for the first Human Trafficking Summit in Jackson. They are raising awareness about human trafficking which is a form of modern slavery. US Attorney Mike Hurst from Mississippi Southern District says some young Mississippians are at an increased risk.
"The victims are runaways, maybe victims come from the foster care community. A lot of victims have prior victimization before they become a victim of human trafficking. Whether it's at the hand of a family member or even a stranger's."
Over the past 6 months, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation received 94 reports with more than 100 victims of human trafficking. Ashlee Lucas is the Human Trafficking Coordinator at the M-B-I. She says the summit is helping to build a network of people to assist in combating human trafficking.
"And so we share information, and being able to learn from our other state partners on what is working, what's not working, and how can we move forward and make a positive impact on this in our state."
6 years ago, Mississippi received a D on a report card for its Human Trafficking laws. In 2019, after the state enacted a law protecting youth victims of sex trafficking, its score increased to an A.