Escaping human trafficking: There is a way out

West Virginia Headlines

Wheeling, W.Va. (WTRF) – The ongoing trial of Ghislaine Maxwell has pushed a difficult-to-discuss topic in the national conversation.

Police have arrested human traffickers nationwide—but their crimes just aren’t going away.

And West Virginia’s rates of poverty and addiction makes it especially susceptible to those looking to take advantage of its most vulnerable people.

The YWCA in Wheeling says the crime often begins with someone who needs help with basic resources like clothing and food.

They’re then approached by traffickers with false promises of adventure and companionship, before their true motives become clear.

When you’re in trafficking, a lot of the times traffickers started out as a relationship. And so you think you’re dating someone, you fall in love, head over heels, they promise the world to someone. And then all of a sudden it turns into, ‘well you need to go do this for me. And you know, prove your love to me. Prove that you’re a value to me.’

Molly Holden, Director of Family Violence Prevention, YWCA Wheeling

She says if you think you’re in that situation, the best thing to do is pick up the phone—the number for the Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-888-373-7888.

Wheeling’s YWCA is specially equipped to help: They have the only specific shelter for human trafficking survivors in the Mountain State.

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