Anti-Human Trafficking Activist Weighs In On Local Allegations - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Anti-Human Trafficking Activist Weighs In On Local Allegations

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. – It's shocking to hear reports of human trafficking, regardless of where they are.  But when a woman living in Spokane Valley reports she was held as a sex slave against her will, it sparks an incomparable reaction of disgust and disbelief among those in our community.

But Nita Belles has been working to fight human trafficking throughout the northwest – and the country – says, no community is exempt.

"Human trafficking is happening in every nook and cranny of the United States," she told KHQ.

Belles says it can happen to anyone - not just the down and out - and it happens in our own communities.  Author of the book ‘In Our Backyard,' Belles says she was personally involved in another suspected case of human trafficking in Eastern Washington – but it was never confirmed.

The issue is widely under-reported.  Unless the victim comes forward, human trafficking is very difficult to confirm, let alone successfully prosecute.  ‘Boyfriends' will often groom women until a level of trust is established between them; then he will force her into certain acts, and threaten her family members or other loved ones if she escapes.

But in this case, the victim did come forward.

"It is pretty rare," Belles said.  "I'm just so pleased that she was able to get free, and she must have been terribly frightened for her life in order to do that, is my guess."

In Belles' experience, when one person comes forward as a victim of human trafficking, it is common that there are other victims involved.

"All the traffickers ask is that we don't believe it's in our community, and that we do nothing," Belles added.  "We must become informed about human trafficking in our backyards and work to stop it."

One easy thing every person should do is program the phone number for the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline into your cell phone: 1-888-373-7888.  Call it any time to report suspicious activity; but if you see someone in immediate danger, call 911.

To learn more about this issue, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/In-Our-Backyard/192569767427476 or http://www.nitabelles.com/.

 

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