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Report: Human Trafficking On The Rise In Indiana

The Indiana Attorney General’s office says the number of human trafficking tips it received quadrupled from 2014 to 2016. It's part of the state's first-ever report on human trafficking, which details a growing problem in Indiana.

According to the report, one statewide service provider helped 178 youth victims this year alone.

Dawnna Plummer is the executive director and founder of Beloved: Not Forgotten, a Warsaw-based organization that provides immediate and long-term care for child sex trafficking victims. She says she’s surprised to learn there’s no housing in the state specifically for that population.

"These girls have specific needs that need to be addressed," she says. "They’ve had horrific trauma in their lives."

Plummer is looking for a location to build housing for female sex trafficking victims between the ages of 11 and 17. She says she’s dealt with 18 cases of child trafficking in the past year. The report says nearly one-third of the victims in Indiana are under the age of 15.

Sarah Hurley is the founder and executive director of Kristy’s House in Indianapolis, a faith-based organization that helps adult victims of sexual exploitation.

She says Indiana’s laws make it harder to prosecute cases of adult trafficking.

"Within the statute it’s pretty clear that if a victim is under age 18 that they are a victim simply by their age and so that’s easier to prosecute, where as if they’re over 18 you have to prove force, fraud or coercion," Hurley says.

Hurley says Indiana's law doesn't even include "coercion," which she says needs to be fixed to align with federal law. She says it allows the psychological manipulation of victims to be addressed when prosecuting the cases.

The report makes several recommendations, including expanding financial resources and setting up an alternate court for victims.

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