CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and on Tuesday, the United States Attorney’s Office spoke with 12 News on this issue.
Human trafficking is the compulsion of people to provide labor, services or commercial sex against their will.
In 2019, West Virginia had 93 likely victims of human trafficking, and that was more than the previous years combined, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. It said the fight against trafficking has been difficult this past year because of the pandemic, with more potential victims vulnerable due to isolation and being harder to detect.
“Human trafficking thrives, uh, by the exploit—exploitation of some vulnerability, and that vulnerability can be anything from, uh, financial problems, to addiction problems, to disability, homelessness. All of those things, pretty much, except for disabilities, of course, got worse during the pandemic,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Cogar.
For more information on human trafficking, click here. See the full interview in the video player below.