Human trafficking response team taking next steps

Richland Twp., Cambria County, Pa. - Members of the Cambria County Human Trafficking Response Team met Friday morning to discuss their latest efforts to fight human trafficking in the area.

"One person being trafficked is one person too many in our county," said Carla Smith, a licensed clinical social worker and the response team's coordinator.

The response team formed last year. Now, members are creating a protocol for first responders and training health care professionals on the signs of human trafficking.

"Anytime you have awareness, it's very key. So if you are aware of some of the signs to look for and you see something, say something," Smith said.

Response team members said human trafficking is a real problem in the area.

A Johnstown man, Barshay Dunbar, will got to trial Oct. 24-26 for allegedly trafficking two women in exchange for drugs at Super 8 Motel in Richland Township in October 2016.

"The case we have going to trial next week resulted from an employee of the hotel becoming suspicious and calling police," said Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan.

The response team reached out to ten hotels throughout the county, asking them to post the national human trafficking hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888. Four of the hotels asked for further training on spotting the signs of trafficking.

The response team plans to reach out to train and bus stations, airports and bars to post the hotline number, as well.

"We don't know how even that could help one person," Smith said.

The team is also looking for funding to provide training for law enforcement and housing to human trafficking victims in the county.

"I look at my grandchildren now and I think, 'Not on my watch, no.' So I want to be able to do what I can to fight that for people who can't speak up for themselves," Smith said.


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