AG Lynn Fitch introduces phase two of statewide human trafficking initiative

Nearly 50 victim were saved last year through the 'Be The Solution' program.
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 6:31 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - On Wednesday, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch visited Island View Casino to host an event surrounding human trafficking in Mississippi.

The office is cracking down on human trafficking across the state. In the last two years, there have been nearly 300 reports of trafficking.

“Well, I just see so many young people and I just see their lives have changed forever, and no one has been there to step up for them,” Fitch said. “We see that this is a $150 billion-a-year industry across our globe; that’s unacceptable.”

Fitch leads the Be The Solution initiative, which aims to help Mississippi residents identify and report human trafficking crimes. She announced during Wednesday’s event that the campaign is now entering phase two.

“We’ve got so many individuals across our state that are in these very compromising situations, but at long as we stand together, we rescue these individuals,” she added. “We’ve had 187 rescues within the last few months; that includes 15 children. To find them, to help them, to empower them to get them back into society without any shame or blame is so rewarding for all of us.”

Be The Solution is supported by several state public officials, including Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell.

“I applaud Attorney General Lynn’s effort in this and reaching out to us to partner with other private and public entities on ways that we can shed more light on human trafficking, and hopefully save some of those young lives,” he said.

Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson was also on-hand to back Fitch’s efforts. He wants the community to take organized crime seriously.

“This is an evil in our society. When you shine a light on it, it’s got to run, and we want to run it out of Mississippi,” Gipson said. “From phase one, according to General Fitch’s own report here, they had over 60 busts and 15 children rescued just from the work that was done last year. If only one were rescued, it would be worth it all.”

Already this year, Fitch had authorized $2.5 million from the Victims of Human Trafficking and Commercial Exploitation Fund that will be distributed to nine organizations in Mississippi. The attorney general said she has much more work to do but this is a great start.

If you or someone you know is in need of immediate assistance, dial the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888)-373-7888, (844)-738-0590 or text “BEFREE” to 233733.

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