PEARL, Miss. (WJTV) — Human trafficking is a phenomenon that Mississippi is all too familiar with. Experts at the Center for Violence Prevention say that they’ve seen about 200 survivors come through their programs over the last few years.

Sandy Middleton, the executive director, explained how the center is making progress.

“We are doubling our capacity for human trafficking victims,” Middleton explained. “Our Tower program is the only specialized long term recovery program for adult victims of human trafficking.”

Middleton said that the best thing that the public can do for human trafficking prevention every month is to focus on what’s going on right here and right now in the state, rather than get caught up in facts and figures that may or may not even be accurate.

“Frankly, we just don’t have time to really delve into that,” Middleton said. “We’re working every day with real life victims right in front of us.”

Something that Middleton finds more important is putting time and energy into sexual assault nurse examiners’ work, like Beth McCord’s.

“Empowering the victims of human trafficking to take control of the exam when they have the forensic exam completed,” McCord said. “Also make sure that they have resources to proper treatment. They’re in a new role, a new place, not knowing who to trust.”

Middleton added that being sensitive to people who have been affected by human trafficking of any kind is the center’s priority, both through the Tower Program and at the forensic office.

If you would like to report a case of human trafficking, whether it’s you or someone you know, please call call the hotline: 888-373-7888.