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Some stories come home with us

As small-town journalists, we often find ourselves writing about several different topics each week and expected to know everything there is to know.

It’s just the nature of the position. We go to city council meetings, county commissions, school boards and local sporting events. Some of those events can be relatively uneventful — at least to someone who doesn’t live here — but all of them are important to people in this community.

Usually we write the stories, go home and it escapes our mind until something triggers it again.

However, other times, we write stories that stick with us. They come home with us, eat dinner with us and even go to bed with us and end up in our dreams.

In Wednesday’s paper, I wrote a story about human trafficking. It’s an important story that I felt was important to write. In most communities, we don’t think about human trafficking in our neighborhood and usually have the attitude of “that couldn’t happen here.”

Nobody moves into a neighborhood thinking, “this is probably a place where sex trafficking would happen,” then put down 20 percent on a home to raise a family. However, it can happen anywhere or to anyone.

That includes women and men of any race and age. 

According to the Polaris Project, many survivors have said they have been trafficked by romantic partners, including spouses and by family members — including parents.

The truth of the matter is monsters can also hide in plain sight. Human trafficking isn’t just a sex crime, it can be a labor crime. Polaris says human trafficking cases have been reported and prosecuted in industries including restaurants, cleaning services, construction, factories and more.

It can happen anywhere, so if you see something that looks shady, it’s best to call the police and report. Do your part to stop human trafficking.