D’IBERVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) - This week, the state attorney general’s office and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations arrested six people as part of an undercover human trafficking investigation in Oxford.
A local advocacy group in South Mississippi says it is great news for those battling the ongoing problem.
“It’s somebody’s kid. If I can just help one, it would make it all worthwhile," said Susie Harvill.
Harvill is part of the group Advocates for Freedom, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting what they say is the ongoing problem of human slavery all over the country, including in Mississippi.
The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally.
“The more we know, the more we can stop this hideous crime," said Harvill. “It’s a crime against our children mostly and our young adults, so this is why we all have to fight together.”
In October, Harvill and others celebrated the opening of Sweet Belongings, a high-end boutique located inside Antiques and More on Automall Parkway in D’Iberville. Advocates for Freedom set it up so the proceeds from every sale goes to help human trafficking victims. So far, the group’s aided 280 of those victims.
“We have been chosen as the chamber of choice for the D’Iberville Chamber," said Harvill. “They have an event called Fire and Ice coming up on Dec. 11.”
No further details about that event have been announced at this time.
According to the organization’s website, Advocates for Freedom is a faith-based organization dedicated to ending the exploitation, sale and enslavement of men, women and children by providing resources, education and training to bring awareness about human trafficking.
The International Labor Organization estimates that forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide. In 2016, an estimated 1 out of 6 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely child sex trafficking victims. Of those, 86% were in the care of social services or foster care when they ran.
For the latest updates on it and other things the group is doing, follow Advocates for Freedom on their Facebook page.