GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Greenville is making January Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month.
It’s a sign of efforts to end this ongoing problem in the city and the east. On Dec. 29, Greenville police went to the Baymont Inn for an overdose call. Officers investigating the overdose death of a 16-year-old girl found out the case was linked to human trafficking.
City of Greenville officials announced the proclamation on Thursday.
Police arrested 21-year-old Anthony Cox on charges including statutory rape of a child, promoting prostitution, and more. Experts say this is just one incident of many in Greenville. One of the factors in human trafficking is people don’t know it’s happening around them.
“Human trafficking in an individual that is younger than 18, if there’s any exchange for sex for anything, it’s automatically human trafficking,” said Jonathan Chavous with Cry Freedom Missions. “If it’s 18 and older, there has to be one of three elements. There has to be force, coercion or fraud.”
Human trafficking takes many forms, and victims usually know their abusers. Advocates say people can help by alerting authorities if something doesn’t seem right.
Police and advocates say they cannot fight this alone. You can save someone’s life by calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888. If you are interested in learning more about the warning signs of human trafficking you can connect with the N.C. Stop Human Trafficking Coalition in Greenville here.