Human Trafficking Training
Sheriff’s Office Hosts Human Trafficking Awareness Training
Camdenton, MO, 04-21-15 – The Camden County Sheriff’s Office hosted a four hour human trafficking awareness training on April 15th to familiarize our employees with a crime increasing in frequency and with how that crime affects people differently. There are many myths about human trafficking and how it affects those in our state and in our county. This training familiarized deputies with some of the social injustices facing victims of human trafficking and the sex trade.
More than a dozen patrol deputies, detectives and members of the sheriff’s administration attended the training provided by Missouri Sheriff’s Association Crime Victim Advocate, Emily Russell. Russell provided several examples of human trafficking in the U.S. and specifically in Missouri. She introduced our employees to keynote speaker, Christine McDonald, a human trafficking survivor, who spent more than seventeen years in the sex trade after running away from home when she was only fifteen.
McDonald described her life on the streets of Oklahoma City, OK, Des Moines, IA and Kansas City, MO. During the seventeen years she spent in prostitution McDonald was arrested in over 100 incidents, convicted of nine different felonies and was sentenced to seven separate stints in prison. McDonald told deputies about being sold to a strip club when she was a teenager for $2500.00 before being put out on the streets after she became so addicted to drugs, she was no longer valuable to her purchasers.
Russell described several clues to look for when trying to identify possible human trafficking victims. She explained victims may be accompanied by someone who appears to be controlling or may not allow the victim to speak for themselves. Some victims may have lack of control over their personal schedule and may be transported to or from work by their “boss.” Russell opened the eyes of all in attendance when she said, “It is important to know about this epidemic to help all the Christine’s in the world… for all the Christine’s in Camden County.” McDonald told deputies why it is not always easy to identify victims of human trafficking and the sex trade. “The majority of victims have difficulty or are unwilling to identify themselves as victims”, she said. McDonald went on to encourage deputies to look for things out of the ordinary when responding to calls for service and reminded them her own mother started her down the road to prostitution by trading her for rent money at the age of eight.
The Missouri Human Trafficking Awareness Network’s webpage will be launched in September of this year to provide information about services to members of law enforcement, victim advocates and victims.