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Fayetteville officials raising awareness about human trafficking

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Mayor Nat Robertson and County Commission Chair Jeannette Council speak about human trafficking. Mayor Nat Robertson and County Commission Chair Jeannette Council speak about human trafficking.
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -

Leaders of the Fayetteville and Cumberland County area say they are joining together to fight against human trafficking in their community. On Tuesday they held a joint press conference to read proclamations officially taking a stand against the crime.

Mayor Nat Robertson and police Chief Harold Medlock said the problem involves trafficking victims being circulated among several cities in the Carolinas. They both spoke in an effort to send a message that Fayetteville will take a tough stance against those responsible.

“We're going to ask our police chief and our sheriff and our district attorney to come down hard on this,” Robertson said. “Human trafficking has become a serious problem in this city, and we need to address it head-on.

“Go somewhere else,” Robertson continued. “If you are the element that is participating in these activities you're no longer welcome in Fayetteville and Cumberland County.”

Cumberland County Commission Chair Jeanette Council and Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler also spoke at the press conference.

That message is encouraging to Kelly Twedell with the Fayetteville Dream Center. The organization often helps victims of human trafficking.

“I mean awareness is key, but taking a hard stance against human trafficking is very important,” commented Twedell. “The promise to come down harder on these crimes is very important.”

Twedell said many agencies and individuals in the Fayetteville area are learning more about human trafficking, and that is helping address the crime. She said the announcement on Tuesday should be taken seriously.

“For those people buying sex, it's a warning, and for the traffickers also. It's a way of life. It's a job for many, and it's just about the money.”

Twedell also announced the Dream Center is launching a tip line for anyone who suspects they see a human trafficking situation. The number is monitored 24/7. Tips will be kept confidential Twedell said.

The tip line number is (515) 999-6780.

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