Authorities on high alert for spike in human trafficking cases during Detroit auto show

Incidents increase dramatically during show

DETROIT – The North American International Auto Show brings a lot of people to Detroit.

But that's not the only thing that comes to the city during the annual event.

"During that timeframe, we're known to have a 280 to 330 percent increase in the number of sex trafficking workers that are in the area," said Michael Glennon, with the FBI in Detroit.

READ: Chief says Detroit police saved 2 missing girls from being moved to Atlanta for sex trafficking

Glennon said those workers often prey on victims who are younger than 18.

"We're likely going to have approximately 30 to 40 children that are going to be trafficked just within the greater Detroit area," he said.

Authorities have already encountered a possible human trafficking incident this year.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said authorities rescued two missing girls from being moved to Atlanta for sex trafficking.

While speaking about the increase in human trafficking during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Craig said police received a tip Wednesday that prompted an investigation. He said the victim and another girl in the area were in danger of being subjected to sex trafficking.

"The missing young lady was abducted and she was sexually assaulted," he said. "They were going to move them to Atlanta to continue into this sex trafficking activity."

Below is a list of human trafficking signs from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s Homeland Security Investigations branch:

• Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
• Has a child stopped attending school?
• Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
• Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
• Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
• Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
• Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
• Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
• Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
• Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
• Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
• Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
• Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?
• Does the person appear to have all their belongings in a plastic bag, easy to grab if forced to quickly move locations?
• Is the juvenile using a false ID or lying about his or her age?
• Does the person appear to not be familiar with his or her surroundings, e.g., not know their location?

About the Authors:

Koco McAboy

Koco McAboy was born and raised in Metro Detroit. She joined the Local 4 News team in September of 2016, and worked at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids prior to that. Koco went to Central Michigan University where she graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Broadcast and Cinematic Arts with minors in Spanish and Political Science.

Amber Ainsworth

Amber is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a Journalism and Screen Studies degree. She is a writer and photographer who covers music and local beer, when she's not covering news. Amber is also a member of the Michigan National Guard.