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Local groups invite public to learn about human trafficking in Indiana

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Local groups are teaming up to help raise awareness about human trafficking in Indiana. 

The Indiana Youth Institute and community partners including St. Joseph County Health Department are hosting a training session Thursday to help people learn to recognize signs and identify victims of human trafficking. 

The workshop will take place on Thursday, January 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Humphrey’s Multi-Media Room in the St. Joseph County Public Library.

Human trafficking is the fastest growing and second largest criminal enterprise in the world, generating an estimated $150 billion annually. Trafficking and exploitation can be found in communities of all kinds. In 2015, the Indiana State Police investigated more than 60 incidents of trafficked or exploited youth.

The Indiana Attorney General's office says tips of suspected human trafficking have increased fourfold in recent years. 

Thursday's workshop hopes to help community members know how to fight trafficking. 

Ian Hurst, northwest regional coordinator of Indiana Trafficking Victims Assistance Program (ITVAP) and Indiana Youth Services Association (IYSA) will speak at the event. Hurst will provide information about human trafficking and exploitation as it relates to the youth population.

Attendees will learn what human trafficking is and the scope of the problem, how to recognize potential traffickers, what “red flag” factors put youth at risk of victimization, how to identify victims, and what intervention and victim services are available.

As part of IYI’s Youth Worker Café program, the seminar and lunch are free, but reservations are required. Attendees may RSVP by going online. 

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