Local organizations fight to bring awareness to human trafficking

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and our state ranks number 8 in the country for the amount of cases seen here. Today, multiple organizations met up to discuss ways to bring attention to the issue.

3…2…1; human trafficking needs to stop.

And that is the ultimate goal for organization “Eastern N.C. Stop Human Trafficking Now “.

“We have a coalition for a reason because those groups need to come together to collaborate so we can address human trafficking as a community,” said Pam Strickland, founder of “Eastern NC Stop Human Trafficking Now”.

It’s happening right here in Pitt County – a large trafficking case discovered just a few years ago.

“Very non-descript mobile home,” said Strickland. “In a very nondescript mobile home park and there were security cameras all around it…that’s a red flag.”

After spending some time here in the Town Common in Greenville, most people said they didn’t realize human trafficking happens right here in Pitt County, which is why it’s so important for organizers to come together to spread awareness and stop the problem.

“Greenville Police Department, DSS, we have someone from center for family violence prevention, Teddy Bear Child Advocacy Center,” all coming together to give victims a voice.

“Many would not go to law enforcement for fear that people are holding them hostage,” said Pitt County Family Development Corporation representative, Minerva Freeman. “Whether it’s a mental hostage or physical hostage.”

Which is why you, as a community member should be looking for signs.

“It’s hard to detect but we want to try to pay attention to how these people act,” said Victoria Johnson of Project Fight for the Salvation Army. “A lot of times they are going through withdrawal, they are looking down. They may not want to talk to you; they may not answer direct questions.”

When everyone comes together, stopping the problem becomes closer in reach.

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