Alarming news for the citizens of Michigan – the state is now ranked No. 2 in the entire nation for human trafficking. Only Nevada beats it. Now, in an effort to stem the tide of adult and juvenile sex slaves moving in and out of the Mitten, Gov. Rick Snyder is introducing a special team to combat the matter.
Appointed to chair and lead Michigan’s new Human Trafficking Commission is Cpl. Erin Diamond of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department (WCSD). Diamond is noted for arresting sex offenders by the thousands in his career, investigating online while working with the WCSD. He says the Snyder-picked team will improve the overall strategy used for crime fighting within the state.
Before it was just enforcement. ‘Let’s go get the bad guy assaulting children and move on with it.’ This is a whole different aspect where we’ve realized that the victims need help…. We’ve always talked about helping the victims. This is the first major effort to bring all the players to the table and say what can we do as a team.
Diamond explained that one of the main distinctions of the Human Trafficking Commission is it’s follow-up work. The committee will check in with victims at local hospitals throughout their recovery in order to see how it might be able to assist the healing process.
One success of the new Human Trafficking Commission already was the safe recovery of teen siblings Aaron and Emma Blackwell, 16 and 13 respectively. The two were abducted in Indianapolis, Indiana, at gunpoint earlier this week, but as a result of the Human Trafficking Commission’s good work, Aaron was recovered in southwest Detroit Monday night, and his sister was found the very next day. As a result, several arrests were made for the teens’ abduction.
When asked how human trafficking begins, Diamond responded:
A lot of times it’s trick and coercion. These guys know how to find vulnerable individuals. Broken homes, they’ve got some problems and run away. They don’t put them out there and start, per se, pimping them. They gain their trust…. Sometimes, they get them hooked on drugs. They take them away from their homes so then they are on the other side of the state with nowhere to go. They can’t call mom because they ran away because they are in a terrible situation and they are forced into it.
Diamond also stated that human trafficking can often be right out in the open without people being much aware of it. Sites like Craigslist and Backpage offer services that can sometimes be utilized to such an end. He said investigators meticulously sift through such sites in order to search out potentially trafficked victims.
Human trafficking is a rampant plague upon Michigan, and indeed, across the entire nation. Hopefully, the new Human Trafficking Commission can begin to sew up some of the Mitten’s holes in crime fighting and reduce Michigan’s numbers in what is truly a heinous crime.