Human trafficking in Mississippi's backyard

Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Charlie Butts (

Human trafficking is a major crime being committed throughout the world, and the United States is no exception. In fact, there will soon be a focus on Mississippi's part in it.

Jackson, the state capital, and the Gulf Coast are hubs for human trafficking, the latter because Interstate 10 passes through the state. Susie Harvill of Advocates For Freedom (AFF), who has worked with rescued victims, will be the keynote speaker at the January 19 "Human Trafficking: In Our Own Backyard" conference in Jackson.

"The majority of them are 17 and under. Our youngest victim has been three years old," Harvill reports.

Sex slavery, currently the number-two crime in the United States, is expected to take the number-one position by 2014. A victim earns a trafficker $500 to $1,000 a day.

"If a trafficker has … five or six or seven girls that they are trafficking, they will earn up to $1,392,000 tax-free money every year," the AFF spokesperson explains.

Federal and state authorities are providing resources and working with Advocates For Freedom to help rescue youngsters from sex slavery. Meanwhile, Harvill's organization and other similar ones throughout the country are working to pass laws to more effectively deal with human trafficking and its victims.

Lynda McCarty, board member of Hope House in Asheville, North Carolina, and former resident of Jackson, will also speak at the conference.

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