Human Trafficking

It is a sad fact that Human Trafficking is a heinous system in operation here in Mississippi today.  The Attorney General’s Office is dedicated to pursuing and prosecuting those who engage in the trade of human beings.   Previously, many of us believed that only women from foreign countries were sneaked into America for the sex trade, and that was the sum total of “Human Trafficking” in this country.  Sadly, we now know differently.  Victims of human trafficking can be the girl next door, someone who fell into the trap of bondage through drug addiction or bad choices or someone who came to this country to work and make a better life for themselves and their families. One thing is certain: those who profit off of  modern-day slavery, no matter for what purpose, deserve to be punished.

In 2013, our office joined with a group of law enforcement officials, faith-based groups, advocates, legislators and lobbyists to help pass comprehensive legislation to address the issue of human bondage in Mississippi.  These amendments to the Human Trafficking Act passed with broad support and will help law enforcement officers punish the perpetrators while offering help to the victims.

Human Trafficking is broadly defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person, through the use of force, fraud or coercion, for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude or forced labor or services.  Human Trafficking comes in many forms, but is most easily categorized as either labor trafficking or sex trafficking.  Labor trafficking involves using force, fraud or coercion to recruit, harbor, transport, obtain or employ a person for labor or services in involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery, and victims of labor trafficking can be found in situations including, but not limited to, domestic situations as nannies or maids, sweatshop factories, janitorial jobs, construction sites, farm work, restaurants, and panhandling.  Sex trafficking involves commercial sex act (which includes engaging in sex acts, the production of sexually oriented materials, or sexually explicit performances), induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which person performing the act is under age 18. Victims of sex trafficking can be found working on the streets as prostitutes, in massage parlors, brothels, strip clubs, escort services.

If you, or someone you know, has become a victim of Human Trafficking, or if you suspect that human trafficking is taking place, please call our Human Trafficking Coordinator at 1-800-829-6766.  Mississippi state law requires anyone who suspects that a person under the age of 18 is being trafficked to make a report to the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS).  The number for reporting suspected child trafficking to the MDHS is 1-800-222-8000.

Click HERE for a list of online resources concerning Human Trafficking and the nation-wide efforts underway to combat it.