State police, Salvation Army start human trafficking task force

Local women and girls being grabbed right  off the street and sold a as sex slaves.

Now Michigan State Police and the Salvation Army are creating a new task force to combat human trafficking in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

A human trafficking undercover sting operation at the Southfield Marriott hotel earlier this month, was made public when an officer was shot, returning fire, and killing the suspect.

But Lt. Michael Shaw of the Michigan State Police, says more human trafficking goes on under the radar than you may think.

"It is a huge problem here in Michigan," he said. "I think most people don't realize it. I think we jump over to prostitution, sex crimes and prostitution is human trafficking, but there's other parts, too."

Now, with the help of a new 1.5 million dollar grant, A multi-agency joint, anti-trafficking taskforce is being created.

"What this grant does, it allows law enforcement and another entity to work together to take care of those victims," Shaw said.

The state police, Salvation Army and other organizations are partnering up, focusing on Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties.

Police say that in 2013 and 2014 there were 94 federal cases of human trafficking and 100 state cases in the tri county area.

"Our role is to find these pimps and the people falling victim to the trafficking," Shaw said. "We also want to help those."

Shaw believes another key element is spreading awareness.

State police will receive more training, more resources will be available for victims, and F/Lt. Shaw believes another key element is spreading awareness.

"Just kind of what to look for," Shaw said. "Somebody who doesn't have control of their life. Malnourished, you never see them out unless they are with somebody."

Soon you will also see billboards and more campaigns for the cause, all thanks to the grant.

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