NEW ORLEANS, LA — Five people believed to be victims of human trafficking were rescued in New Orleans by law enforcement on Tuesday, reports indicate.
Officials have not released very many details related to the suspects or the victims due to the ongoing nature of the investigation. However, we do know the victims were all from various states in the U.S. and were located in the French Quarter.
"It's the second fastest growing criminal activity in the world," says Katherine Green with the Human Trafficking Task Force for the Middle District of Louisiana.
Multiple law enforcement agencies are participating in an effort to combat against human trafficking during the Super Bowl activities. Two years ago the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimated that 10,000 prostitutes were brought to the Super Bowl in Miami. In 2011, more than 1,000 young people were arrested for prostitution in Dallas during Super Bowl weekend.
“Law enforcement officials throughout the country have been experiencing human trafficking and related activities in epidemic proportions and this problem is expected to ascend to maximum intensity particularly during conventions, sports events and any and all events attracting out of town visitors,” reports the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Officials ask members of the community to be aware of the situation and to report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement.
Here are some of the signs for recognizing individuals involved in human trafficking:
Common Work and Living Conditions: The Individual(s) in Question…
• Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
• Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
• Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
• Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
• Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
• Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
• Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
• Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
• High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavoir
• Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
• Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behaviour after bringing up law enforcement
• Avoids eye contact
Poor Physical Health
• Lacks health care
• Appears malnourished
• Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement,
• or torture
Lack of Control
• Has few or no personal possessions
• Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
• Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
• Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves
• (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
• Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
• Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
• Loss of sense of time
• Have numerous inconsistencies in his/her story.