By just saying hello, a human trafficker can know whether or not a young boy or girl is worth pursuing as a victim, an FBI analyst explained at a training session with Pittsburgh health and social services employees, Medill News Service reports. The FBI has hosted a dozen sessions in the city over the last two months to educate social service caseworkers, often the ones closest to potential victims, about sex trafficking.
The hour-long sessions look at signals for at-risk youth, explain available tools and services for victims, and provide an opportunity for caseworkers and others involved in health and social services to discuss the issue. “We started this relationship with the FBI because we were pretty sure we had these trafficking cases in the population we work with,” said Jacki Hoover of Allegheny County’s Office of Children, Youth and Families. “We felt that cases were not being identified because our staff didn't really understand the broad definition of trafficking.” Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives approved five bills aimed at curbing human trafficking, including one that seeks to equip child welfare agencies better to prevent victimization. The legislation also would offer services and training, like those in Pittsburgh, to help identify victims.