There's now a human trafficking task force in Marshall and DeKalb counties.
"People think human trafficking is happening overseas, or they think it's flying someone overseas to a foreign country. But really, it's happening here, and it's happening a lot," Sherrie Hiett said.
She often works with sexual assault victims at the Family Services of North Alabama. She sees how human trafficking made its way to Sand Mountain.
"Unfortunately in our area, what we see is the familial trafficking, where we have parents selling and reselling their children for drugs," Hiett said.
"It's definitely on the rise," Sheriff Nick Welden said.
DeKalb County Sheriff says his office investigated two cases of human trafficking last year.
With the issue becoming more common, Hiett decided to take action. She's starting a human trafficking task force in Marshall and DeKalb counties.
"We just want to educate people on the different types of human trafficking, what it looks like," Hiett explained.
The idea’s already getting a lot of support from the community.
"A lot of people jumping in and saying, 'We want to help prevent this in our county and help keep our people safe,'" Hiett said.
The human trafficking task force will first be created in DeKalb County because the issue is more commonly seen in the county.
The sheriff explained it's because of the interstate system that gives traffickers quick access to other states in the area.
The sheriff hopes it helps law enforcement get ahead of the issue before it’s too late.
"When you come together as one, it's amazing what you can do. With law enforcement, we have many, many weapons to fight something, and this is just another tool in the box to fight crime. We are going to do it together, and we are going to get it done," Sheriff Welden said.
If you would like to be a part of the human trafficking task force, there will be a meeting on Sunday, March 22 at the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office. Everyone is welcome to join.
At this time, there is no set date as to when the Marshall County Task Force will have its first meeting.
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