A group of church goers are on the front lines in the fight to stop human trafficking in Tulsa. They want people to know this crime is more common in Tulsa than we might think, and they are taking some proactive measures.
Every month Christians Against Trafficking meet at Kirk of the Hill Church. On Thursday, the mission was to find out what the city of Tulsa is doing to stop human trafficking.
We hear about human trafficking all the time, especially the sex trade. Now Christians Against Trafficking are focusing on fighting the labor side of the crime in Tulsa.
"We want to be sure that our police department is looking for labor trafficking in our restaurants, in our nail salons in the agricultural areas, in the industrial areas," said Wanda Satrom, with Christians Against Trafficking.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett spoke before the group of church goers. He said Oklahoma is a focal point for trafficking because major highways run through the state.
"For that reason, we need to be especially vigilant, because there are people that are involved in this type of terrible activity that does move through our community on a daily basis," Bartlett said.
Satrom and other members of Christians Against Trafficking want to know how the city is taking proactive measures instead of reactive measures to stop this crime.
"The ability that we have to work with all the other agencies, especially the federal agencies in this regard, I think is very important," Bartlett said.
Many wanted to know if there is any way to regulate businesses that are known for trafficking people. The mayor said he will speak with the police department on Friday about creating a task force.
"If we can stop it, and grab the people that are involved in this and save those that are the victims, then we've done some good work," Bartlett said.
Still, these Christians said one way they plan to defeat the issue, is to pray about it.
"We want to make sure that the people in Tulsa know that it's here so they can begin to pray about it and we can watch for it in our communities," Satrom said.
The mayor also said the community plays a critical role in ending human trafficking. He said the city and police need people to keep their ears and eyes open and report anything suspicious they may see.