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LaFayette police, Renew Hope 85 to host human trafficking forum

LaFAYETTE — The LaFayette Police Department and The Renew Hope 85 Initiative are teaming up to bring awareness of human trafficking to Chambers County through a community forum.

The forum is titled “Keeping Kids Safe From Human Trafficking” and will start at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 3 at Mount Pisgah Baptist Church. All times are in the central time zone.

“With statistics that indicate the initial age of exploitation is 12 to 14 years old, and ample evidence that human trafficking happening throughout Alabama, the need for a community training is vitally important,” LaFayette Police Chief George Rampey said in a news release.

On Nov. 18, during a LaFayette City Council meeting, Rampey said talk of this issue has started to increase in the local area.

“We know this is something that’s raising a lot of eyebrows around the nation,” he said. “People are very concerned about this.”

He said the police department and residents wouldn’t know how close the issue is to Chambers County until it gathers more information.

“People often think that human trafficking only includes people who are going away, but it also includes people who are coming home every day,” Rampey said.

According to a news release from Renew Hope, human trafficking has become the world’s fastest-growing criminal industry and is estimated to have revenues of more than $150 billion.

The news release said there were nearly 1,200 victims in Alabama during 2017, with over half the victims being minors. Renew Hope has said experts have expressed concern those numbers reflect about 10 percent of the actual number of victims.

Renew Hope is a program dedicated to educating, informing and training community members and employees in the identification of and issues related to human trafficking, according to its website. Renew Hope is a subsidiary program of Circle of Care Center for Families.

“The best way for a community to address human trafficking is through collaborative partnerships, and I appreciate the LaFayette Police Department for taking the lead with this forum,” Adrian Carpenter, Renew Hope 85 coordinator said. “We hope the community is able to attend.”

The forum Tuesday is open to the community.

For more information, contact the police department at (334) 864-2211 or Circle of Care at (334) 768-4091.