We're nearing the end of National Human Trafficking Prevention Month and WAAY 31 is learning why North Alabama could be considered a prime location for the crime.
“Can you imagine being a mother, grandmother, father and your child come up missing, and not know where they are, and that be the fate of them?”
Linda Carpenter is a mother and grandmother and says her family’s safety is always top priority.
“I have a granddaughter in college and I’m always cautioning her to be aware of her surroundings and be careful where she goes, don’t go by herself, don’t walk around at night," Carpenter said.
Carpenter says one of the things she worries about is human trafficking, saying it’s much more common than people realize.
“The trafficking industry has picked up so much over the past five or ten years and it’s frightening," she said.
And she’s not the only one who thinks so. One woman, who didn’t want to be identified, is a mother of six and says she’s had conversations with her children about human trafficking.
“Small towns like Decatur, Cullman, Hartselle. It doesn’t have to be a big city," the woman said. "It doesn’t have to be Chicago, it doesn’t have to be Birmingham. It’s right here, too.”
“Coming down I-65, from Nashville to Birmingham, Decatur could be a stop-off point," Decatur Police Chief Nathaniel Allen said.
Chief Allen says it’s important to get the community involved to help prevent cases of human trafficking in Decatur.
“The community currently are our eyes and ears," he said. "Most of all, the community knows who belongs there and who doesn’t belong there.”
Allen says there are a few red flags to look for when dealing with potential trafficking victims.
“In a conversation, if a person speaks very little or no English, they seem very reserved, and make very little eye contact," he said. "Maybe they appear to be very young and are working in an establishment.”
Allen says you should also look for physical marks and signs of malnourishment.
Decatur police tell WAAY 31 they’re not currently working any human trafficking cases, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening; and that’s why they’re asking for the community’s help.
If you see anything suspicious, you’re asked to call your local law enforcement agency.