Different agencies gather for training on human, labor trafficking classes hosted by The Haven

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 7:22 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Different agencies in South Georgia gathered to take part in a training session hosted by The Haven, shedding a light upon different issues they are seeing including human and labor trafficking along with gang activity.

The Haven hosts Training session.
The Haven hosts Training session.(WALB)

“These in-person trainings are so important. Information is constantly changing, we need to stay on new things and new ways people are being victimized and we want to keep law enforcement informed,” said Heather Grizzle, sexual assault response coordinator at The Haven.

Sheriffs and police from nearby counties, members of the school system, social workers, mental health professionals, and other organizations were amongst the crowd.

The Haven hosts Training session.
The Haven hosts Training session.(WALB)

Grizzle tells us they’ve hosted a few of these sessions but this is the first one since the pandemic.

“We are here to educate law enforcement as part of the Georgia Coalition to combat human trafficking. It’s a big one of our initiative. We want to make sure our law enforcement and direct service providers are empowered with up-to-date knowledge,” said Amy Hutsell, program director with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of Ga.

Hutsell was one of the speakers. Her unit focuses on sexual assault, child abuse, and human trafficking.

Participants learned how to identify labor and sex trafficking, how to investigate, and how to respond.

Hutsell says they’ll also be discussing gang activity and how they’re profiting from human trafficking.

Recently, the organization created the state’s first human trafficking comprehensive law enforcement base task force.

“This task force is focusing on all forms of human trafficking so that is adult sex trafficking, minor sex trafficking, and labor trafficking which our data shows it’s a significant issue here in South Georgia,” said Hutsell.

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