Published On: Wed, Sep 16th, 2015

Chatham officials learn to identify, investigate human sex trafficking


SAVANNAH – The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department has begun human sex trafficking investigation training sponsored by the attorney general’s office through Sept. 18. The training is broken down into two-hour sessions and all SCMPD officers are required to attend one of the sessions.

The goal is to educate law enforcement officers on identifying, investigating and prosecuting human trafficking cases, with a focus on child sex trafficking. The training provides information about state resources available to assist law enforcement in their investigations. This training also will provide attendees with the knowledge, skills and abilities to assist victims of human trafficking.

The training is led by Human Trafficking Prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General Camila Wright and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“At the end of this training each officer should be more equipped to spot hidden trafficking, work with cooperating and non-cooperating victims, investigate cases and bring traffickers to justice,” Wright said.

Every year more than 300,000 children are brought into sex trafficking across the globe, some by people they know and others by people they have just met, but trust. It happens across the United States, including in Savannah and Chatham County.

Sgt. Tiffany Manuel leads the SCMPD’s Special Victims Unit.

“In order to help protect our children we must make people and officers aware of what is going on,” Manuel said. “We must educate officers about what to look for and what to do when we see the signs. The more people who are aware of what is going on the more we can help get these children out of danger and prevent other children from becoming victims.”

Law-enforcement officers from all Chatham County municipalities, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, Airport Police, SCCPSS Board of Education, and Georgia Ports Authority were invited to attend, along with the Chatham County District Attorney’s Office, Rape Crisis Center, Department of Family and Children Services, and the Child Advocacy Center.

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