SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A group of experts is volunteering their time over the next month to empower groups across our community to put an end to human trafficking, as well as help the victims of that crime.
The 6th Annual Savannah Traffick Jam kicks off January 9, 2021. This year’s event will be virtual and split up across four weekends to make these virtual events more useful for each group.
Next weekend’s focus will be helping to further educate law enforcement through guest speakers who specialize in the enforcement and prosecution of these crimes. Experts say the pandemic has impacted both the enforcement and the prevalence of human trafficking.
“We have seen some changes in the enforcement and the prosecution side because for example the state courts have been largely closed, so it slowed down a lot of cases,” Barry Paschal, Public Affairs Officer with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Georgia said. “On the enforcement side, it has been a challenge, particularly as some agencies themselves have had to deal with COVID-19.”
“There are more people who are in desperate need of money, and so this makes it very easy for traffickers to lure people either into some type of labor trafficking situation or sex trafficking,” said Dr. Karen Lambie with Ambassador of Hope International.
While the first weekend of the event is open to law enforcement only, the following weekends provide information for legal and health professionals, as well as community organizations and the general public. Organizers say at the end of the day, the event is about providing the specialized training and knowledge to give a wide range of support needed for victims.
“It is a very specialized field in terms of the physical care, the kind of psychological support they need, the other array of services they need, because remember these are people who have been through a truly horrific situation, and they need to be able to reclaim their lives, " host Maurice Middleburg said.
The schedule of conferences is as follows:
- January 9: Law enforcement
- January 16: Legal professionals
- January 23: Medical/ health care professionals
- January 30: Main conference/ community members
View the full brochure for the event below:
To register, click here.