By Michelle Rupp, KATV-7
Conway (Feb. 22, 2011) - Conway Police get a lesson in immigration crime and human trafficking in Arkansas. Its a crime gaining attention around the country and here. Today several law enforcement agents went through training to detect trafficking. You might be surprised to know cases of sex trafficking happening right here in Little Rock. The Catholic Charities of Arkansas Immigration Services hosted the class.
As human trafficking is more and more exposed, police and others must become better equipped to recognize those situations. Ed Appler, a private social worker attended the class, and was stunned. "Once I saw the information on trafficking I realized I've probably been face to face with it over the past few years and it just didn't register on me." He adds, he's been doing work with undocumented minors since 2006 and "I've seen these images since 2006. I'm thinking it's already here."
Experts say the signs of human trafficking are very similar to domestic violence. And while no cases have come forward in Conway, for CPD, this is one more tool in protection. Chief AJ Gary of CPD says, "the more we're better prepared to handle that if something happens the better off we'll be"
Appler says, "it's just invisible, it's hard to recognize until you receive some training and you say oh that's what I was looking at." He adds, "for me I'm going to walk around with a greater awareness of the environment that I see my clients in."
Those in the class also received information about crimes against immigrants. Learning how to make victims feel comfortable in talking with police officers.
To watch the video, click here.