MSP video highlights warning signs of human trafficking

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FLINT (WJRT) (1/10/18) - The signs are all around us -- but would you catch them?

In a newly released video, the Michigan State Police hope to show people what to look out for when it comes to human trafficking.

MSP Trooper Amy Belanger says service workers especially need to keep their eyes and ears open.

"People's homes, they're in intimate places that the average person wouldn't be. and so if there's something going on in a residence or in a business, they're most likely the ones that are going to see it first," she said.

Belanger says service workers, of all people, need to keep their eyes and ears open, especially when something just doesn't seem right.

"A lot of times, there are locks on the doors or horrible living conditions or multiple people living in one house, or there's a bunch of cots in one of the rooms," she said.

While the practices behind human trafficking have not changed over the years, combatting the problem has.

"law enforcement is now more keen on looking for signs, maybe someone that comes in for a CSC (criminal sexual conduct) report, maybe it's not just a CSC report, maybe it is a trafficking case," she said.

One misconception Belanger wants to address? The idea that victims of human trafficking are taken.

"62 percent of victims are tricked into trafficking, whether that be online, whether that be somebody pretending to be in a relationship with them for up to 6 months or a year and then they flip the switch," she said.

And that switch can be flipped in a variety of ways like physical abuse, torture, drugs, and sometimes it's not even the victim.

"They'll threaten loved ones, family, friends, whoever they care about," she said.

While the majority of cases involve females, Belanger says around 20 percent of victims are males.

If you ever see anything suspicious, give police a call.

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