Organization working to raise awareness on human trafficking, help victims

Posted at 11:45 PM, Jan 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-11 23:45:07-05
Twenty-one million people are victims of human trafficking and the State Department estimates that there's between 15,000 and 17,000 people who are trafficked into the U.S. every year.
And now there's an international effort to stop it.
"If you imagine the entire population of the city of New York and you double it that's how many people are currently victims of human trafficking," said Catholic Relief Services, executive director, Joan Rosen Hauer  said. 
It's a startling statistic, but Hauer says there's hope of reversing that trend.
"Try to prevent the situation by creating education programs where people are most vulnerable and most likely to be lured," Hauer said. 

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Wednesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch released the Department of Justice's national strategy to combat human trafficking.
"This is a document that reflects input form every us attorney's office across the nation. Where each office developed a district specific strategy to better help survivors and to target the regional trafficking threats with greater precision. It strengthens the coordination between and among all of our components,"  Lynch said.
Those threats can come in many forms.
"It could be in farming, it could be factories it could be in domestic service and often in the sex slave 
industry," Hauer said.
Hauer says many times people get pulled into trafficking situations by no fault of their own.
She estimates that $150 billion in illegal profits is generated every year.  
For now, Hauer and leaders nationwide say awareness and education are the best weapons.
Catholic Relief Services is launching the "turn on the light" campaign to combat human trafficking.
The program calls on people across the country to spend their money on ethically produced and traded products--while also pressing government leaders to strengthen and enforce anti-trafficking laws.

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