By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Human Trafficking is the most common form of modern day slavery worldwide and is a growing problem in the United States. It is estimated that 300,000 American youth are vulnerable to becoming sex trafficking victims. Pimps target runaways, homeless, and abused and/or neglected children. Child sex trafficking alone is estimated to be a growing $9.8 billion industry in the US
The Alabama Human Trafficking Summit brings together law enforcement, district attorneys, social services, and charities that work in this field with experts.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) and State Representative Jack Williams (R-Vestavia) will kick-off the Summit. Rep. Jack Williams heads the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force.
Luther Strange that the growing human trafficking problem, “Is a problem that most people do not even want to acknowledge that exists, much less talk about.”
The morning sessions will feature: Alabama Board of Massage Therapy, Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force, Alabama District Attorney’s Association, and National Children’s Advocacy Center. The Luncheon Keynote speakers will be Kevin Malone and Phil Ludwig. Kevin Malone is the former General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Montreal Expos. He now runs a national anti-trafficking organization, Protect the P.A.T.H., based in Southern California. Phil Ludwig is the Executive Director of Teen Rescue.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 defines human trafficking as labor trafficking and sex trafficking. Traffickers gain complete control of their victims through coercion, force, or fraud. Although both types of trafficking occur, sex trafficking is the most prevalent form in the United States.
According to information on the task force’s website, there are an estimated 27 million slaves living in the world today……believed to be more now than at any time in the history of the world and has recently surpassed the illegal weapons trade as the number two criminal enterprise (behind illegal drugs) globally.
Strange told the audience at last year’s summit that his office is committed to combating human trafficking in Alabama. Strange said that nobody comes into the criminal justice system voluntarily and that with trafficking it is important that law enforcement recognizes that in many cases the woman is the victim and not the criminal.
AG Strange praised the WellHouse in Birmingham. It is a faith based non-profit agency that rescues women from sexual exploitation and human trafficking. The WellHouse was founded by Tajuan McCarty who also addressed the 2015 Alabama Human Trafficking Summit.
Most girls who enter the world of prostitution enter between the ages of 11 and 15, though trafficking victims can be even younger.
Alabama has had a human trafficking law since 2010.
For more information about the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force or the Alabama Human Trafficking Summit please visit www.enditalabama.org.