Anchorage partners with DHS on human trafficking

Officials in Anchorage are trying to get a better handle on human trafficking. And to do that, they’re partnering with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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Nora Morse is with the Anchorage Police Department. She said the partnership means three separate trainings this month that fit within a national Homeland Security campaign to educate police and healthcare workers who may be on the front lines of identifying trafficking victims.

“We all know that human trafficking is kind of a crime that lurks in the dark. The more that people are educated about what it is and what the signs are, the better we can be as a community about identifying it,” Morse said. “So it’s helpful just for education for the public and for people who are working in this field — or people who don’t even know they’re working in a field where human trafficking could occur.”

The arrangement does not come with any additional federal resources. But Morse said just starting to track the problem is a meaningful step, especially when it comes to industries in Alaska that are susceptible to labor trafficking.

“There aren’t good data tracking mechanisms in place,” Morse said. “So we don’t actually have good numbers. But we can see here in Alaska, we have a lot of industries where this could be happening like fish processing, seasonal things, tourism work.”

The trainings in Anchorage are scheduled for later in August.