Human trafficking training course happening in Garden City for law enforcement officers
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KAKE) - Human trafficking can be a difficult conversation for many, but a newer organization is working to educate people in position's of power about how to recognize warning signs and act before it's too late.
The Human Trafficking Training Center is putting on the Human Trafficking Training Center in Garden City Tuesday and Wednesday for law enforcement and other first responders.
At any given time, there are approximately 4,000 victims of sex trafficking in Kansas and Missouri. Alison Phillips, Human Trafficking Training Center co-founder, said that's why these courses are so important because if more people can recognize the signs, that can play a crucial role in saving lives.
"The hundreds of survivors that I've had the opportunity to work with over the years, they have told me about, 'I was going to school when this happened to me and none of the adults around me knew what what it was or what to do,' Phillip said. "'I was, you know, involved in this, this traffic stop with an officer and he missed it.' You know, I mean, I hear these stories over and over and over, and we call them miss opportunities. I don't want to see any more missing opportunities."
Some signs people can be on the lookout for are grooming behaviors, signs that someone isn't in control of their life or maybe someone whose clothes aren't fitting them properly.
At the end of the training course, they ask participants if, with the knowledge they know now, have they missed a situation that might have been trafficking in the past or would they have done something differently, and she said 95% of officers have said yes.
"One of the officers in our training was a school resource officer, that he the very next morning, after leaving our training, he was called into a counselor's office at the school where he worked about some issues with a 14 year old girl," Phillips said. "He recognized everything, all of the indicators, everything that he had been taught over the previous two days were present right there. He obtained consent to search her phone and found out that she indeed was being trafficked by her mother and to a drug dealer."
Phillips said that is just one example of how someone knowing the signs made a difference and they were able to get the little girl the help she needed.
Phillips said it's also important to have this training course in parts of Western Kansas where they don't always receive these types of training, but sex and human trafficking can happen anywhere.
More information on the Human Trafficking Training Courses can be found through their website.