OK Expert Says Anyone Can Spot Signs Of Human Trafficking
TULSA - You'll find human trafficking on the ground and as one flight attendant found out, in the air too.
On a flight from Seattle to San Francisco, an alert flight attendant used her training to spot signs of trafficking. From there, she was able to help save a girl.
Experts say spotting the signs is something anyone can do.
Every day, thousands use Oklahoma highways to make their way across the state and country. Unfortunately, in some cases, the highway system helps criminals traffic victims.
It doesn't matter if you're in a large city or a small town, there's always the business of human trafficking.
"We had a case in Tulsa not not long ago where there was a hotel that was running girls and this hotel owner had hotels in different states," said Kristin Weis, the co-founder of the Demand Project.
The organization works to educate people on the signs of trafficking. Weis said anybody paying attention can spot it.
If young people are trying to hide who they are or are out of school when they shouldn't be, question it.
"Say, you see a little girl and she has her hair all done and her makeup all done and she's dressed like she doesn't have any money but she has a handbag worth $500 or she's in heels that are 'that tall,' there might be a red flag in there," she said.
In 2016, nearly 90 Oklahoma trafficking cases were reported to the National Hotline.
Also in 2016, six suspects were indicted in federal court in Tulsa for trafficking.
"Who are they with are these minors hanging out at at hotel are you driving down the street and see about three or four minors hanging around a hotel room," Weis said.
Generally, people who are trafficked are either lured or forced into it.
A person lured by love or drugs will be hardened, quick to fight and standoffish, Weis said.
It's different for people who are taken.
"She's gonna act meek, quiet, fearful... she's not gonna be able to talk unless she's given permission to talk. Who is she with and is that person watching every single move she makes?" Weis said.
She said parents should pay attention. Predators often reach out to young people through social media.
The Demand project offers teaching sessions to individual groups.
For more information about The Demand Project, visit their website.
To view the Department of Homeland Security's human trafficking PSA, click here.