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Behind Closed Doors Yet In Plain Sight: Human Trafficking In North Carolina

A woman waiting for a commuter train.
There are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally, with hundreds of thousands in the United States, according to estimates from the International Labor Organization.

Human trafficking continues to be an insidious and widespread problem in North Carolina. The  exploitation of people for sex or for labor can happen in a wide range of situations, from illicit massage parlors to farm operations or even well-frequented restaurants.

Law enforcement, non-profit organizations and academic groups have made significant progress in tackling the issue in North Carolina, however more work and awareness is needed to curb the trends. Host Frank Stasio speaks with experts who paint a picture of human trafficking in North Carolina and around the country. Retired Major Rick Hoffman, formally with the Raleigh Police Department, founded Iris Training to educate members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities about how to effectively identify and intervene in human trafficking cases. Margaret Henderson is a lecturer and researcher at the UNC School of Government who works with local governments to involve them in preventing human trafficking in their communities.

Christy Croft is the prevention education program manager with North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA);and Samantha Floyd is co-founder of Justice Consulting and a human trafficking consultant with the State Department. Hoffman, Henderson, Croft and Floyd share the biggest challenges in tackling human trafficking and the multi-pronged solutions that are being developed.

If you believe you may have information about a trafficking situation call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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