Human Trafficking Awareness

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DOTHAN Ala.(WTVY)- "A drug you can only sell once but a person you can sell over and over."

Gia Hughes works to end human trafficking which targets women and men as young as twelve years old.

Bill Rafferty Houston County Sheriff Office Major said, "55 percent are females and 45 percent are males that are involved in human trafficking. It's not always just the sex trade there are other aspects of it too."

Exploiting them for money, sex and slavery are just a few of those aspects

Hope Rising Ministries Founder Gia Hughes said, "Ad’s online for women being prostituted or children being abused and sold by their parents to pay for drugs or house payments -- Those are the kind of women we would see in our area."

So what type of people are they after?

"The pimps are very astute of finding what that need is whether its affirmation or love or somewhere to stay. They’re very good at trying to find what those vulnerabilities are."

One of Dothan’s first human trafficking cases involved a seventeen-year-old girl held against her will by her captor Santiago Alonzo who forced her to sell her body.

But since then, Houston County investigators tell us they haven’t made any arrests.

Federal authorities have cracked down on sites used to lure victims.

Gia Hughes tells us local sites like this one are still operating and educating yourself about the dangers could save a life.

"Whether you share the information on Facebook to educate people or skip a coffee to give 5 dollars to an organization that can buy clothing for a victim I would say do something.

If you see something say something and call (888) 373-7888 the hotline number and report suspicious activity you never know you could be saving a life.

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