Human Trafficking Awareness Month and how to spot the problem

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DOTHAN, AL (WTVY) -- Its a problem that we're definitely not immune to in the Wiregrass.

Most recently, a Dothan man was arrested in Panama City for forcing a person into prostitution.

It's a scenario that's seen way too often by those who try to help human trafficking victims.

Gia Hughes is the founder of Hope Rising Ministries, an organization which helps victims of human trafficking, and she says that it's not like what people see in the movies, and "There are a good many, a lot of people think it's an international problem. Where there are girls just being brought here. And in reality, there's more girls here that it happens to than girls being brought into the United States."

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Executive Director Staca Shehan, says that a crime like human trafficking could be occurring in broad daylight.

She said "Child sex trafficking is a crime that's committed in real life in plain sight, that provides everyone with an opportunity to recognize that something's not right, something suspicious is occurring and to make a report."

The problem doesn't end with local offices signing proclamations against human trafficking.

Hughes says it comes down to building a sense of trust with the victims that poses a challenge after the fact.

She says "We just want to build relationships with the women that we meet, because if they can't trust us then we can't um... they wont come out towards what we offer."

These are the warning signs that people should be looking for if they suspect someone is a victim in human trafficking

Hope Rising Ministries will be signing a human trafficking proclamation in Dothan on Tuesday at the Dothan city commission meeting.

But this is leading up to the Alabama human trafficking summit, presented by the national center of human exploitation, next month.