JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Thursday marks one year since House Bill 1559 was passed to combat human trafficking in Mississippi. Supporters of the bill gathered at the State Capitol to recognize the work done to stop human trafficking in the state.
Spearheading those efforts are House Speaker Philip Gunn, Attorney General Lynn Fitch and other supporters, particularly the law enforcement investigators locally and statewide.
Human trafficking is a $150 billion worldwide industry and in many cases, it hits close to home in small towns across Mississippi.
“I just wasn’t aware of the prevalence of human trafficking in the state of Mississippi, and I think most of our Mississippians just don’t realize. It happens in every community around our state,” said Gunn.
The COVID-19 pandemic furthered the risk of human trafficking, according to a state department report. The Center for Violence Prevention in the last fiscal year responded to 165 victims, 61 of those being children.