Michigan No. 2 in human trafficking; Snyder assigns new team to fight it

Michigan ranks No. 2 for human trafficking sex trade behind only Nevada. In an effort to crack down on adults and juveniles abducted and used as sex slaves Gov. Rick Snyder is announcing a new team to fight crime. 

Snyder has appointed Cpl. Erin Diamond from the Wayne County Sheriffs Department.

Diamond will chair and lead investigations for the state's new Human Trafficking Commission. You may recognize Diamond, he's arrested thousands of sex offenders over the years investigating online with the Wayne County Sheriff Department. 

This new team picked by Snyder will enhance the crime fighting strategy, Diamond said.

"Before it was just enforcement," he said. "'Let's go get the bad guy assaulting children and move on with it.' This is a whole different aspect where we've realized that the victims need help. 

"We've always talked about helping the victims. This is the first major efforts to bring all the players to the table and say what can we do as a team."

The team played a big role in the safe return of 16-year-old Aaron and his 13-year-old sister Emma Blackwell. The teens were abducted at gunpoint in Indianapolis, Indiana at the start of this week.

Aaron was located in southwest Detroit Monday night, his sister also discovered safe Tuesday. Several were arrested and charged for the abductions.

How does human trafficking begin?

"A lot of times it's trick and coercion," Diamond said. "These guys know how to find vulnerable individuals. Broken homes, they've got some problems and run away. They don't put them out there and start, per se, pimping them. They gain their trust. 

"Sometimes, they get them hooked on drugs. They take them away from their homes so then they are on the other side of the state with nowhere to go. They can't call mom because they ran away because they are in a terrible situation and they are forced into it."

Diamond says the difference with this committee is that they will contact the hospitals to see what they can do to help get assistance to the victims. 

In many cases legitimate internet sites like Craigslist feature services which may use human trafficking. Diamond said investigators are combing through sites like those to identify potential suspects.
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