Google profit

Local nonprofit says human trafficking could be different than you expect

PELHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – A local nonprofit says the arrest of a Trussville doctor accused of trying to lure a 17-year-old patient to a hotel for cash is a signal to alarm for parents and caregivers.

President and Founder of Strong Hope BlanketAlexa James, said sex traffickers can look like anyone, and they can often be people you already know and trust.

“Human trafficking comes in many different forms,” James said.

“It could be a doctor, it could be a teacher, it could be a deacon, a priest, it could be someone you work with because they don’t look like scary people. These are normal people like you and me trying to find a way to make money,” she explained.

And for that reason, James said it’s important to be picky about who you trust with your kids, even your doctor.

Blount County investigators arrested a Trussville doctor after he said he improperly touched a 17-year-old patient, texted her sexually and even attempted to meet her at a hotel in exchange for money.

“So we just can’t take people at face value, unfortunately. There must always be a family member present, whether it is your parents or another family member, this doctor must know that you are there. If a nurse isn’t in the room with your child when he’s with a doctor, she doesn’t need to come in with him,” James said.

But James said social media also plays an important role, so you need to monitor your children’s online activity.

“So you need to know what’s going on with social media with your kids. I know you don’t want to interrupt them, and you feel like you’re in their space, well, it’s your job to be in their space. OK? That’s why we’re parents,” James said.

James also recommends checking in with your kids regularly, especially if you see any changes in their grades and behavior.

She said not to be afraid to ask them about new tattoos, clothes, jewelry, friends and money, because it could be a sign that something bigger is going on.

Receive news alerts in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store or subscribe to our email newsletter here.

Copyright 2022 WBRC. All rights reserved.