Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery that takes place across the nation. It’s also a major problem right here in Illinois.

And today– the Tazewell County Health Department is bringing awareness to the issue in our own communities.

A lunch and learn provided those in attendance with necessary tools to identify potential victims.

Local health officials want you to know that human trafficking can happen to anyone, but some are more vulnerable than others.

Sara Sefried, Director of Human Trafficking Services at the Center for Prevention of Abuse took part in the event.

“Traffickers target vulnerable people,” Sefried said. “Some of those populations might include youth, might include individuals who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability, poverty, substance abuse. Really there isn’t one specific factor, but all of those combined.”

Illinois ranks 9th in reports to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

“It’s important to have opportunities like today to provide specific information for community members and professionals so they know how to identify the crime and then know how to respond,” Sefried said.

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at +1 (888) 373-7888.