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Day-long workshop to help professionals who encounter human trafficking to be at West Virginia University

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A day-long workshop on human trafficking and related issues for professionals who may encounter it in the field will be held Tuesday, July 29 at West Virginia University.

National and in-state experts will provide the latest information on human trafficking, human smuggling and how these forms of exploitation exist in West Virginia.

“While human trafficking is not a new problem, West Virginia is beginning to see a rise in tips from the public regarding these types of crimes,” said Jessica Griffith, Fusion Liaison Officer Coordinator for the West Virginia Intelligence/Fusion Center. “West Virginia’s geography and interstate system make it a prime location for individuals committing such acts of modern-day slavery to hide and go unnoticed or to travel through en-route to nearby metropolitan areas.”

The Fusion Center organized the workshop, which will be held at WVU’s Life Science Building auditorium in Morgantown. Part of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, the Fusion Center is a wide-ranging collaborative effort that gathers, analyzes and shares information related to criminal activity and hazards.

The workshop is not open to the public, but is instead geared to police, firefighters and other first responders as well as social workers, educators and other professionals who may see human trafficking in the course of their work.

“Since this is a fairly new topic facing the state, we want to provide law enforcement, first responders, and others who may be in a position to encounter and work first-hand with victims and suspects the necessary training and access to resources,” Griffith said. “The aim is to help them properly handle everything from identifying victims and giving them the proper assistance they need, to investigating the perpetrators of such heinous crimes.”

There is no cost to attend the workshop. As class size is limited, those wishing to attend are asked to register in advance to reserve a space. Law enforcement officers will receive eight hours of in-service credit for participating.

For more information or to register, contact the Fusion Center at (304) 558-4831.