Human trafficking in Bay County; how you can report it

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 6:21 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Human trafficking can happen anywhere. Just last week, multiple people were arrested in connection with a trafficking case in our area.

“It is a common issue I hate to say overall the country, not just Panama City and Bay County in general but everywhere,” Lt. Chris Taylor, Panama City Police Department, said.

Signs of someone being trafficked can be as simple as a change in behavior.

“Are they being isolated from their friends and family? If it is a juvenile that has been running away a lot do they seem to be having a cell phone or an electronic device that nobody knows how they got these items or even expensive purses thing that nature,” Corporal Amy Burnette, with the Criminal Investigative Division of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, said.

According to Lt. Taylor, there’s a common misunderstanding about human trafficking.

“It is not always just sex trafficking. Human trafficking can go to sex trafficking, child exploitation, labor wages. Anything you can imagine a person can be used for,” Lt. Taylor said.

Authorities say in our area we see an increase in trafficking during the summer months.

“Anywhere that you see something that is just odd especially relating to females, males, adults, and children please call us. We would rather you call and we look into it and find that it is nothing versus someone being mistreated or abused,” Lt. Taylor said.

If you see something, say something. If you or someone you know is in need of help there is an anonymous tip line.

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