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Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Here are local resources that are available.

The entire month of January is recognized as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, but Jan. 11 specifically focuses on awareness and prevention. According to Vantage Point, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in human trafficking by more than 40%. In Virginia, there were 119 reported human trafficking cases in 2020.

Project Horizon, is a non-profit based out of Rockbridge County. They are dedicated to helping those who are victims of domestic, sexual and dating violence.

Hannah Knight, the Director of Therapeutic Services at Project Horizon thinks that there has been an increased number of human trafficking cases reported because awareness is growing.

“We have the largest truck stop on the east coast in Rockbridge County, and so that is a big place where that occurs. Where people are passing through. I think that is a reason we need to bring attention to it because it is happening in our small community and it is a difficult topic to talk about,” said Knight.

All month long, Project Horizon is sharing resources and information about human trafficking.

Ways you can recognize human trafficking can be if someone has multiple injuries on their body that are healing at different rates. Another red flag is if someone is not in possession of their own personal items. This includes their ID or their passport.

“The first thing I always tell people is trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, pay attention to it. So if it’s a couple comes in and one of them is withdrawn, they are not making eye contact, they don’t want to engage,” said Knight.

Other organizations that have resources to help out include, the Salvation Army, Lampstand and Freedom 4/24.

If you are looking for help, you can call 540-463-2594.


Source: WSLS News 10

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