How to spot and stop a human trafficking event

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ALTOONA – So far this year, Iowa investigators have received 38 confirmed cases of human trafficking.

Statistics show that number will continue to climb.

“Last year, the state of Iowa recieved over 200 calls of reported human trafficking,” explains Detective Mark Harmon, with the Altoona Police Department.

Des Moines has been ranked in the top 100 cities as a human trafficking cite.

“Basically, because I-80 and 235 runs through Iowa and goes all over the place,” says Harmon. “We’re just the basic stop from east coast to west coast and north and south.”

Last year, the Altoona PD trained all their law enforcement and first responders on how to spot it. Detective Harmon says that parents should know what is on their child’s cell phone at all times.

He explains that most kids, ages 14 to 16, get picked up after meeting someone on the internet and through apps.

Ways to spot human trafficking:

1. If someone is in control of the other

2. Their head is down all the time

3. Tattooed with a name

4. Don’t have their own identification

Law enforcement say if you see something say something. It’s better to be wrong than sorry.

Tonight, there is a human trafficking presentation in Altoona at the SS. John and Paul Catholic Church starting at 6:30p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

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