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      Human trafficking: It's here in the U.P.

      It may come as a surprise to some, but according to polarisproject.org, human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery, and it happens more often in the United States than most people may realize.

      According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, human trafficking is defined as slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others.

      In the United States alone, there are between 18,000 and 20,000 people human trafficked each year, and over half of them are thought to be children.

      There are two types of human trafficking: sex slavery and labor slavery.

      Presenters, Kelly Laakso and Amy Kordus, trained by the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force, educated attendants at the Upper Peninsula Children's Coalition conference about human trafficking and how common it is. They are working to raise awareness of human trafficking in the U.P. in conjunction with area law enforcement.

      "A lot of material covered rapidly on an important topic that people really are not that much aware of," said Karlyn Rapport, an attendant of the presentation.

      "Number one, it happens here in Michigan without being able to be aware of it. Second of all, we do have resources that can support people who have been affected by trafficking, and then thirdly, the community is the one who needs to speak out. And if you see something that doesn't sit quite right with you, trust your gut," said Kordus.

      They encourage anyone who may be in contact with or learn about a victim to contact your local law enforcement: Marquette City Police at (906) 228-0400), Michigan State Police at (906) 228-2683, the Women's Center at (906) 225-1346, the Harbor House at (906) 226-6611, or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-3737-888.