On this Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel are highlighting resources available and important work being done to combat trafficking.
“I am grateful to the Attorney General and law enforcement agencies in Michigan and nationwide working diligently to ensure survivors have the resources they need and bring traffickers to justice,” Gov. Whitmer said. “Michiganders should review the available resources, report trafficking, and support those who feel helpless. Together, we can save lives.”
“Those victimized by traffickers face sexual, physical and emotional abuse – all for the purpose of control and submission,” AG Nessel said. “That is why it remains incumbent upon all of us to report trafficking and support those who feel helpless. I encourage everyone to take some time to review the resources available to better identify these instances of abuse.”
Nessel’s Human Trafficking Initiative prosecutes traffickers and provides training throughout the state. Since its inception, 34 individuals have been arrested on human trafficking charges. While several cases are currently pending, 25 convictions have been secured thus far.
Since 2019 alone, in over 30 presentations, the initiative provided human trafficking training to approximately 200 law enforcement professionals, 350 legal professionals, 300 victim service providers, 800 medical professionals, as many as 1,000 various other professionals and about 300 members of the general public.
One educational tool available on the initiative’s website is red flags to watch out for, which summarize behaviors that a victim of trafficking often exhibits.
The following are questions to ask yourself if you suspect someone is being trafficked:
- Are there bruises or other signs of physical abuse?
- Are there signs of psychological abuse?
- Is the person submissive or fearful?
- Is the person being controlled?
- Is the person being deprived of food, water, sleep, medical care, or other life necessities?
- Is the person allowed to be in public alone?
- Can the person freely contact friends or family?
- Is the person a minor engaged in commercial sex?
- Does a minor appear to be in a relationship with a much older person?
- Does the person fear his or her employer?
- Can the person leave their job situation if they want?
- Has someone threatened the person’s family?
The Department of Attorney General is also home to the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission. Each year, the Commission reports on its work and initiatives to the Governor and Legislature. The 2021 annual report will be released later this month. Until then, you can read the 2020 annual report on the Attorney General’s website.
More information on the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission can be found online.
If you are a victim of human trafficking or have identified someone you think may need help, please contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888, or text 233733.
The national, toll-free hotline is available to answer calls, texts, and chats from anywhere in the country, 24/7. All calls are confidential.