Authorities Use Latest Human Trafficking Complaint to Educate

Published: Jul. 7, 2017 at 4:27 PM CDT
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The Brown County Sheriff's Office is investigating a sex trafficking complaint after a local woman posted on social media about the incident. The woman believed her daughters may have been targeted while playing in a park.

In a Facebook post, a mother, claims two men were discussing how much money they could get for one of her daughters while watching the children play at a park. The incident wasn't reported to authorities until Action 2 News brought it to their attention, something that is a concern.

According to Lt. Jim Valley with the Brown County Sheriff's Office, "In a situation like this you should call law enforcement right away. We can respond, we can look for any potential suspects, get all of the information and investigate it from there."

While authorities are taking the report seriously and looking into the incident, the post has also gained a lot of attention from people who saw it on social media.

"My first thought was, that normally doesn't happen that way," says Dawn Spang. She's the aftercare director for Eye Heart World, an organization that works to fight sex trafficking.

As someone who works with those who've been victims of trafficking, Spang says it's rare that children are randomly kidnapped from parks or pools or shopping malls. Instead, the traffickers build relationships with their victims and groom them first.

"They look for someone's vulnerability, so whatever that may be. Maybe they need more attention and so they will develop a relationship with them. Maybe there's substance use there and so they can use that against the person they're looking to prey upon," adds Spang.

Authorities agree. That's why they urge people to call them before taking their claims public.

Lt. Valley says, "We have officers that are dedicated to human trafficking within the area. We do have intelligence and information and we can help the community kind of decide what is maybe true, maybe false."

Because while it's helpful for the public to share information, it has to be correct information.