In February 2020, Vestavia Hills police were able to rescue four children from trafficking and arrest the man suspected of trafficking them.
Capt. Johnny Evans with the Vestavia Hills Police Department said without the training they received as part of being named a “Human TraffickingFree Zone” in November 2019, they might not have been able to spot what was happening.
As the city continues to train its employees on how to spot and prevent human trafficking, the Police Department is seeing success in cracking down on these cases.
“Our officers now, when they’re dealing with people, know to look for certain things,” Evans said. “We’ve really been able to notice more of the signs.”
Becoming a “Human TraffickingFree Zone” is part of the Child Trafficking Solutions Project, formed in response to the passage of the state’s Safe Harbor Act, created by former state Rep. Jack Williams from Vestavia Hills.
Two Prattville women were charged with human trafficking after they were allegedly caught encouraging other women to engage in sexual activity for money.
According to court records, a 21-year-old woman was arrested Saturday about 9:30 p.m. at a downtown Montgomery hotel after she enticed another woman to assist her in performing a sexual massage. The woman, unbeknownst to her, had coordinated a meeting with an undercover law enforcement officer by answering a message on a website, according to her arrest affidavit.
Auburn, Alabama– Multiple agencies in Lee County have gotten together this year to discuss the growing problem of sex and human trafficking. “[There are] kids [who] don’t really have a way to make money, a lot of times they have to do things that they don’t like to do in order to get food, to get shelter,” Teresa Collier, an intelligence analyst, said. “So a lot of times what we see are those runaway kids, they’re engaging in survival sex.”
Hollywood, Alabama — Police in Hollywood arrested a 78-year-old man on multiple charges related to solicitation of a child. Officers from the Hollywood Police Department received information that Lipham was contacting male juveniles via Facebook messenger soliciting them for inappropriate images and videos.
At Huntsville International Airport in Huntsville, Alabama three airport employees and a Delta Airlines manager helped a 21-year-old girl from an attempted human trafficking incident. The mother of this woman was looking for her car in the parking garage after dropping her daughter off and the Airport Public Relations and Customer Service Manager approached her to help find it. A they were looking she found out that her daughter was going on the plane to meet people for a modeling job. The agent quickly knew that was suspicious, so she met the woman at the gate after her mother described her. The agent tried to get her not to get on the plane, but the 21-year-old is old enough make decisions for herself. A little after, the woman got off the plane saying the modeling agents canceled the flight.
In order to be designated as such a zone, there are three steps the city must take: passing a proclamation declaring the city to be a Human TraffickingFree Zone, undergoing training for city personnel, in particular first responders, as well as businesses in the city, and lastly, a zero tolerance policy for city employees caught purchasing sex at work. The program is managed at the local level by the project, but is an initiative of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking.
According to the U.S Institute Against Human Trafficking, “The (TFZ) Trafficking Free Zone program is a community-based initiative to reduce the number of buyers, whose continuous financial investments create an illicit market for traffickers to exploit young victims in Alabama.
The Trafficking Free Zone is a nation-wide program of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking and local anti-trafficking coalition, the Child Trafficking Solutions Project, an initiative of Alabama’s Children’s Policy Council and the Jefferson Family Court.
Alabama recently received an A on its “report card” from Shared Hope International (SHI) for the state’s positive response to the issue of human sex trafficking. Its overall score landed Alabama at the sixth position in the country; neighboring Tennessee took the top spot.
At Monday night’s council meeting in Vestavia Hills, AL, Mayor Ashley Curry signed a proclamation – an initiative of U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking that will require all city staff to be trained on how to spot sex trafficking.
Sergio Webb, 29 Montgomery, AL. has been indicted on charges of capital murder, murder, and human trafficking first degree. The murder counts stem from the death of Melissa Metcalf, Webb is charged with human trafficking for a different victim.
“Most of our kids identify as bisexual. And, that’s because they’ve been sold to this person or that person, males and females. So, they don’t know what their gender is,” said Lynn Caffery, Executive Director of the shelter Safe Harbor Youth in Huntsville.
This law will require any new CDL applicant to undergo industry-specific training to spot human trafficking. The group Truckers Against Trafficking will work with truck driver training schools and trade colleges to facilitate the training.
Kenneth Alan Pierce – already charged with three counts of transmitting obscene material to a child and four counts of possession of child porn – was arrested again Wednesday night on two more counts of transmitting obscene material and one count of promoting prostitution.
The NCOSE is the leading organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health crisis of pornography. The mission includes any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power or trust, for sexual purposes.
Former Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager Kevin Malone, Co-Founder and President of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking, shared his response to a major law enforcement operation in South Florida involving human trafficking and prostitution. Learn more about his organization at www.usiaht.org.
The job of identifying victims often falls on hospital workers and police officers. All patrol officers in the Birmingham, Alabama Police Department underwent training in January to learn how to recognize victims who often are taught to avoid being noticed.
“We need to address the issues of childhood sexual abuse that causes a victim to become vulnerable to trafficking, and we need to address the issue of demand,” Carolyn Potter said. “Make it really hard on the people who think it is OK to buy another human being, and that needs to be taken care of in our state.”
She revealed that Alabama continues to crack down on illicit massage parlors across the state. A number of them are under investigation for human trafficking, according to McCay. In many cases, she says workers have been found living at the business.
40-year-old Chico Allen, of Birmingham, was arrested on July 5, 2018 for trafficking methamphetamine and other drug related charges. Additionally, authorities say Allen could face human trafficking charges.