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Fayetteville Police Chief: Collaboration Is Key To Stop Human Trafficking

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku
Flickr Creative Commons

Police in Fayetteville say they will work with other local authorities to crack down on human trafficking in North Carolina. 

The Cumberland County District Attorney joined Fayetteville's mayor and police chief this week to renew their efforts to fight traffickers. 

The state's largest cities have reported several cases in recent months that involved kidnappings and forcing victims into prostitution. 

Fayetteville police chief Harold Medlock says the crime is not new in North Carolina, but authorities need to collaborate more to catch offenders.

"What's going on here, I can assure you, is going on in every major city across our state," Medlock says.

"I think there is equal concern among law enforcement leaders and professionals in those cities, but what we're willing to do as a community is step up and say, 'this is a concern to us and we're going to make a concerted effort to deal with it.'"

The anti-trafficking group called Polaris Project says North Carolina is number 12 in the nation for human trafficking.  The state was ranked in the top 10 in 2012. Medlock says traffickers commonly request casual meetings with victims online.

"This crime is being technology driven in a way that I don't think anyone ever expected. There are a lot of social media sites and websites that promote this that really have taken prostitution off the street, which makes it hard for us," he says.

Medlock says Fayetteville might be seeing a high number of trafficking cases because of its location along I-95, where offenders transport victims along the east coast.

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
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