Updated human trafficking law protects victims - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Updated human trafficking law protects victims

Mississippi had a human trafficking law on the books before. But it was strengthened this legislative session. Mississippi had a human trafficking law on the books before. But it was strengthened this legislative session.
Our very human nature is that we want to believe that our community is safe, our children are safe. That those things don't happen right at our doorsteps Our very human nature is that we want to believe that our community is safe, our children are safe. That those things don't happen right at our doorsteps
Anyone could be a victim but a large number of them are young girls forced into the underground trade. Anyone could be a victim but a large number of them are young girls forced into the underground trade.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippi is trying to pull back the curtain on a business that survives in the shadows. We're talking about human trafficking.

"It's not a pretty subject. It's not something people want to talk about," said Carol Stern with Advocates for Freedom.

But Stern say a conversation must be had about human trafficking. She says Mississippi's not immune to the problem.

"Our very human nature is that we want to believe that our community is safe, our children are safe. That those things don't happen right at our doorsteps," said Stern. "But the sad reality is that it does." . 

Mississippi had a human trafficking law on the books before. But it was strengthened this legislative session. The newly updated version took effect July 1 and now gives victims the voice they never had.

"What it did is it took that blame off of the victims and it put it squarely onto the shoulders of the people who are helping," explained Stern.

But trafficking cases have been brought to light more in the past year than ever before in the Magnolia State. Most recently, a woman was kidnapped from a Florida home and later escaped a house in Hattiesburg. Court documents show she had testified in several high-profile human trafficking cases that led to convictions.

Stern says anyone could be a victim but a large number of them are young girls forced into the underground trade.

"No 13 year old girl wakes up in the morning thinking I want to sell my body to 20 different men today," said Stern.

And Mississippi's interstate system serves as a huge hub for the business.

"It doesn't have a red flag or a sticker on the vehicle that says we're trafficking children for sex," explained Stern. 

Stern says the they've helped victims that range in age from three years old to their mid-sixties.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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