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State Highway Patrol Seeks Public's Help in Stopping Human Trafficking
Posted on: 08/22/2013
By  Andy Rex
 
You might not think that something such as human trafficking could occur in rural Ohio, but law enforcement officials say it could. And they are asking for the public’s help in stopping the growing and deeply disturbing practice.
 
WMOA News spoke with Lt. Carlos Smith, Marietta post commander of the State Highway Patrol. He says with Interstate 77 dissecting the county, it’s a potential gateway for human trafficking.

“Anytime you have a major interstate running through your county, there’s a concern because of the volume of traffic. We also have a rest area here in Washington County, so we’re always looking out and being vigilant.”
 
Lt. Smith says there have been no known instances of human trafficking in Washington County, but that’s doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. He says people should look out for “unusual activity such as young ladies hanging around rest areas and truck stops, or different things like that.  Anything that looks suspicious or doesn’t look like it’s in place probably isn’t, and they should give us a call.”
 
Recent changes to state and federal laws have increased penalties for human trafficking in an attempt to curb the trend.  Lt. Smith says the Highway Patrol is taking a lead in enforcing those laws.
 
“We support that type of legislation and we will enforce it vigorously.  We want to make people aware of what’s going on out there and try and make the community a better place to live, and provide a better quality of life for our Washington County and Ohio residents.”
 
If you see something “out of place” – anything that might indicate someone being forced into bad actions - contact the Highway Patrol directly at #677 from any wireless device, or call 9-1-1.
 
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