SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL) - According to a report presented to the Louisiana Legislature earlier this month, human trafficking has gone up 25% in Louisiana over the last year. Of the 447 reported victims, nearly 1 in 4 had a tie to Caddo Parish. Nearly all persons were reported as sex trafficking victims, and nearly half were juveniles.
17 agencies supplied data to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
In Caddo Parish 70 victims were age '18 or older', 56 were '17 and under', 5 cases were listed as age unknown.
Walter Fahr, a Child Welfare Consultant with DCFS, says Caddo Parish has excellent trafficking training, recognition and reporting. The high numbers in Caddo Parish may be a combination of both a growing problem, but also an emphasis on training and reporting.
"We think what's being done in Caddo is actually some of the best in the country and we try to promote that around the whole state of Louisiana," says Fahr.
DCFS says human trafficking continues to go underreported. Only 1/3rd of agencies supplied their trafficking numbers, and Baton Rouge Parish didn't participate because their records were destroyed due to flooding.
Last week the Louisiana Senate fast tracked SB-42, a bill which would establish a "Human Trafficking Prevention Commission and Advisory Board.
Full info on SB-42 can be found here: http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/BillInfo.aspx?s=17rs&b=SB42&sbi=y
DCFS Website: http://www.dss.state.la.us/