FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – January is national human trafficking awareness month.
Indiana State Police partnered with Truckers Againt Trafficking (TAT) to increase awareness about the crime and reduce the numbers.
According to the human trafficking hotline, Indiana had 97 reported human trafficking cases last year. Last week, police hosted a training program for TAT.
WANE 15 spoke with Dr. Jeanne Zehr, the executive director of MindCap, a cognitive advantage program. Dr. Zehr said 80% to 90% of victims of human trafficking are usually teenage runaways. She says truckers are a great source for police to use because they’re on the road a lot and may witness suspicious activity.
Dr. Zehr says one way to decrease human trafficking is to cut out the demand.
“The number one thing we need to do besides help and rescue the victims is we have to cut down on the market,” said Dr. Zehr. “I would call men to the line. It’s time to stop other man victimizing children and girls in this way,” said Dr. Zehr. “So if we didn’t have the demand there will not be children and young women being marketed.”
Dr. Zehr added that this is a worldwide issue, but we must remember our area is still highly affected.