ST. LOUIS – The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently announced the results of a nationwide effort to help victims of sex trafficking.
According to the FBI’s St. Louis office, Cross Country 13 resulted in locating several local, missing juveniles. Jay Greenberg, the special agent in charge of the St. Louis office, encourages anyone who suspects trafficking to report their suspicions to authorities.
“If you see something that looks out of the ordinary, go ahead and report it,” Greenberg said.
Greenberg says there’s a misconception that trafficking typically involves a victim being kidnapped or abducted. According to authorities, luring a victim into danger through a friendship or relationship is more likely.
“I have personally encountered victims who do not identify as victims, because they believe they’re in a relationship with the trafficker,” said Jatonya Clayborn, program director for Gateway Alliance against Human Trafficking (GAHT).
Clayborn encourages the public to educate themselves about trafficking and says it’s more prevalent than many people believe. Clayborn says GAHT provides training and education with the goal of eliminating trafficking.
“What we need to do is make sure we are supporting those vulnerable community members, so they don’t fall victim to trafficking,” she said.
According to the FBI, local agencies involved in the most recent targeted effort to successfully help victims include St. Louis County Special Investigations/MOICAC, St. Charles County Cyber Crime Task Force, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division, Missouri Department of Social Services State Technical Assistance Team (STAT), and International Institute of St. Louis.
Victim Services Division
NCMEC 24/7 call center number: 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678)