Over the past few years, we've seen law enforcement change their policies when it comes to victims of human trafficking. Often the change is in shifting to prosecute the perpetrators and johns (those who buy sex) instead of charging the victim with prostitution.
The San Antonio police department is working to raise awareness of trafficking for victims. The department says they know that many victims are not originally from America, and many are unaware that the police exist to protect and help them. Though the police force in America is not immune to corruption, in many countries corrupt police are the norm and will be the perpetrators of crime and coercion.
(Photo by Mark D. Wilson, MySanAntonio.com)
The department made a series of seven videos to raise awareness. The first of these tells the story of a 15-year-old runaway who was picked up by a trafficker in English. It talks about the ways traffickers dehumanize their victims. SAPD Detective George Segura says, "They remove their humanity and reduce them down to commodities to be traded to be used for monetary gain." The other videos feature officers translating the message into six other languages: Arabic, French, Spanish, Russian, German, and Tagalog, to increase the scope.
What measures has the police department in your area taken to prevent and stop trafficking? We'd love to hear about them and how they have impacted your community.