WASILLA — Alaska Transit Monitoring Project Manager for Love Justice International, Sabrina Stratford recently offered a presentation discussing the nonprofit’s airport monitoring program on top of general human trafficking prevention and awareness information during the most recent Alaska Stop Human Trafficking Alliance (ASHTA) Zoom meeting earlier this month.

“This is a timely topic, as we just had an incident at the Anchorage International Airport last week that we will be talking about. This is a great program for anyone to get involved in and help save possible trafficking victims before they are trafficked,” ASHTA coordinator, Staci Yates said.

Stratford went over several key topics covering what human trafficking is, how to identify victims through various signs, and preventative measures to stop the abuse before it happens.

“Somebody could be right in front of you and you wouldn’t even know they’re being trafficked,” Stratford said.

Stratford outlined Love Justice’s transit monitoring program which helps members of the public, authorities, and adjacent agencies work together to spot signs of human trafficking at airports, where 80 percent of human trafficking occurs. She said Love Justice assigns volunteers to patrol units at airports across the country to apply “actionable data” to intercept potential victims and prosecute their perpetrators.

“I think some people think, ‘oh, it could never happen here.’ It’s definitely in all 50 states,” Stratford said.

Stratford said there have been over 1,000 arrests through the transit monitoring program.

“That just comes from getting really good data down and putting it into this form,” Stratford said. “We have to make everyone aware of human trafficking.”

On top of leading ASHTA, Yates is the Director of Human Trafficking Recovery Services at MyHouse Mat-Su Homeless Youth Center. She said that she spoke to six clients within the last week who were victims of human trafficking.

“Yes, it’s a problem here. The numbers are high here,” Yates said. “It’s a big deal here and all the people on this call are super passionate about this cause and there’s a lot of people here who have the ability to do a lot of things to help… Together we can make a huge difference.”

Stratford is working to incorporate Alaska into the Love Justice program and plans to be actively involved with ASHTA and other community groups across the state.

“This is making my heart race, knowing we have this much support; and I can’t wait to meet everyone,” Stratford said.

For more information about Alaska Stop Human Trafficking Alliance, call 907-373-4357 or email notrafficking@myhousematsu.org.

For more information about Love Justice International, visit lovejustice.ngo.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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