TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - Law enforcement agencies across northeast Mississippi and Mississippi's Center for Violence Prevention came together Tuesday to announce the creation of a task force to fight human trafficking.
The Northeast Mississippi Human Trafficking Task Force is a collaboration of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and victim service providers, working to protect victims, prosecute offenders and prevent human trafficking.
Sandy Middleton, the executive director of Mississippi's Center for Violence Prevention, talked about three main goals of the task force.
The goals are to raise awareness on human trafficking, plan a response for law enforcement to identify and investigate quickly, and to help victims by providing services and support.
Middleton said the task force is already in the works as there are current cases in the area.
"We've got some human trafficking already working," Middleton said. "We're working with individuals who are victims from this part of the state, and the law enforcement prosecution here is chomping at the bit to get started."
Prentiss County Sheriff Randy Tolar said people need to be aware that human trafficking in this area of Mississippi is a reality.
Middleton also talked about how important it is for the community to be aware of the issue and to keep an eye out for anything that seems suspicious.
- Task force created to fight human trafficking in northeast Mississippi
- AG Hood announces Mississippi Mental Health Task Force
- Mississippi man gets 15 years for human trafficking
- U.S. attorneys held statewide human trafficking training
- Oxford man indicted for human trafficking
- Storms cause damage across northeast Mississippi
- Two sentenced in Mississippi for sex trafficking