MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and law enforcement officers from across Alabama came to Montgomery Friday to learn more about investigating this difficult crime.
It's a faceless crime, often overlooked. That's why the Department of Justice hosted the Annual Joint Meeting of Human Trafficking Tasks Forces for the North, Middle, and Southern Districts of Alabama.
"Without law enforcement, we can't make these cases", U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin stated. "They are recognizing more that there are people in danger, people in crisis, so they are digging a little deeper to make some cases to save some people."
Franklin says the defendants in the small number of cases his office is prosecuting are both local and captured while passing through the district, some of which are also connected to drug trafficking crimes.
As a veteran prosecutor, Franklin acknowledges that looking back, human trafficking has been a factor in the Middle District during his career, but education helped bring it to the surface.
"It was something people knew about, didn't talk about, didn't have an interest in," Franklin explained. "What we are trying to do here today is that people know about it and law enforcement officers are taking an interest in it."