Human Trafficking in the Greater Birmingham area is well known to FBI officials and area investigators, but is mostly a foreign concept to average individuals. In June, a 3 day nationwide FBI sting operation called Operation Cross Country, rescued 79 child victims and saw the arrest of 100 pimps. Some of those arrests were in Shelby County, Homewood, and Hoover.
Tajuan Lewis, a sex trafficking survivor, operates a safe house called The Wellhouse in Birmingham for trafficked girls and women from Alabama. Tajuan was a runaway but is quick to point out that quiet, withdrawn girls from broken homes are also vulnerable to predators. Victims may not even realize that what’s being done to them is illegal or that they can ever escape. Victims are oftentimes as young as 12 to 14 years old. Traffickers target their minor victims through telephone chat lines, clubs, on the street, through friends, at malls as well as using girls to recruit other girls.
The Justice Department says if you see something that looks like trafficking, you are encouraged to call 911 or your local law enforcement.
Learn more at the CBS 42 article: Human Trafficking.