The Duncan Banner

Local News

August 27, 2013

Human trafficking a nightmare problem in Oklahoma

DUNCAN — More than 300,000 boys and girls are reported missing each year. And many of these children are taken into a multi-billion dollar industry, where they are exploited.

Suzi Hanson, with the Beautiful Dreams Society, talked about human trafficking during a program Aug. 19, at First Christian Church. Hanson said human trafficking is a form of slavery, whether its labor or sexually related.

“There are more slaves in the world today than any other time,” Hanson said. “There’s about 27 million slaves worldwide. The numbers are on the rise. We’re talking about human lives; it’s astronomical.”

The three interstates moving through Oklahoma make the state one of the states with the worst human trafficking problems in the United States. Several area states, including Texas, which is No. 2, are also high on the list.

Hanson said targets are usually people with vulnerabilities.  Eighty percent of people sold into human trafficking are females. The average age of victims are 12 years old, although the age is getting younger.

Most of people taken into human trafficking are drawn in by deception, not kidnapped.

“It not until they’re in the trap that we see the force, which is the abuse,” Hanson said. “The chains (of the victims) aren’t on the outside; they’re psychological.”

Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, second to drugs. In fact, it’s a $32 billion industry each year.”

Hanson said one of the best ways to combat human trafficking is to make people aware of what’s happening and to take better care of children so they aren’t as easily duped by traffickers.

Some of the vulnerabilities traffickers look for include low income/poverty/low education, children growing up in alcohol and drug addictive family systems or cultures, children who have been or are in the foster care system, troubled teens, minors on online social networks, runaways and throwaways.

She said some of the traffickers will befriend their child victims first to earn trust. She said that makes it easier, especially if the child is unhappy at home and school, to lure the child away from home.

“We have to really think how we’re treating our kids in school,” Hanson said. “They want to be loved. They want to be liked. They want to be cared about.”

Hanson said one misconception of human trafficking is that victims are usually taken away from their families. She said some victims are still in their daily lives, but are still considered trafficking victims.

She said some of these children are blackmailed by the traffickers.

“Often times, the kids blame themselves,” Hanson said. “Often times, they don’t realize they are victims or they have a trauma bond with the exploiter.”

The national hotline to offer tips about possible victims is 888-373-7888. The Oklahoma City hotline is 855-617-2288.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 4-24 Velma Team Roping Kids.jpg Velma teens win roping competition

    Two Velma teenagers have claimed victory again this year in a statewide roping competition.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-24 DonRidley.jpg Marlow residents reflect on council member Ridley

    A void remains on the Marlow City Council following the death of Councilman Don Ridley.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Velma storm siren problem fixed

    A glitch with the storm sirens in Velma has been fixed, but just to be sure a weekly test run of the tornado warning system will sound off at noon Friday, Mayor Shawn Enloe said.

    April 24, 2014

  • Marlow Chamber sets banquet for Monday

    The Marlow Chamber of Commerce will focus on the town’s local businesses when it host its annual banquet Monday at First Baptist Church in Marlow.

    April 24, 2014

  • Council votes for cheaper, quicker water fix

    The Duncan City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to go with a $650,000 fix to its water infrastructure needs.
    The council approved a $43,000 contract with Crafton, Tull, Sparks and Associates to build a 1,000-foot long pipeline that will be capable of putting about 3 million gallons of water per day into Lake Humphreys.

    April 23, 2014

  • 4-23 DHS Band 0042.jpg DHS band wins fifth straight Sweepstakes

    The Duncan High School band received a rare distinction, winning Sweepstakes for the fifth consecutive year.
    Senior Cody Plumley is excited the band won Sweepstakes for its fifth year in a row, making the DHS Band one of the few school bands to do so.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do the crime, you’ll face a bigger fine

    It just got considerably more expensive to be cruel to animals, ride a bike at night without a light, drive over a fire hose and noodle in a city lake.
    The Duncan City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to increase the amount of municipal fines and bonds associated with dozens of misdemeanor offenses.

    April 23, 2014

  • Sheriffs: State backing out on prisoner promises

    State efforts to save time and money by shuffling prisoners more swiftly through the system are riling local sheriffs who are losing money because of the efficiency program.
    A change in Department of Corrections practice is landing a “significant hit” on two-thirds of Oklahoma counties, which depend on reimbursements to house state inmates locally, said Ken McNair, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association.

    April 23, 2014

  • McKinney: DOC move will benefit Stephens County jail

    Oklahoma Department of Corrections efforts to move county inmates to DOC prisons has helped the Stephens County Jail dip below capacity.
    But Sheriff Wayne McKinney wonders why it took so long to happen when the county jail was overcrowded for several years.

    April 23, 2014

  • Officer urges volunteers to sign up for mentoring program

    A new in-school mentoring program trying to recruit volunteers got a boost on Tuesday night when Duncan Police Officer Julio Alvarez stepped onto a stage to tell a crowd of 50 spectators that a mentor helped him overcome the trauma of childhood victimization.
    “Go out and spread the word,” Alvarez said, urging people to sign up as mentors through a program that is being developed by The Well Outreach, Inc.

    April 23, 2014