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Secretary of State looks to curb human trafficking with new business-involved initiative

Photo courtesy of Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson

Secretary of State Michael Watson has introduced a new initiative with the goal to curb human trafficking in the Magnolia State.

According to Watson, the Mississippi Businesses Against Trafficking (MBAT) will work as a training program in which businesses can access videos and materials needed to teach employees how to locate the signs that indicate a trafficking situation in order to take immediate action.

Business partners involved in MBAT are the Dutch Group, the Mississippi State Board of Massage Therapy, the Mississippi Braves, and the Mississippi Hotel Lodging Association. Watson emphasized the value of having a partnership with businesses that cover different sectors because human trafficking can occur anywhere.

“It takes us everywhere. It takes us at a hotel. It takes us at a gas station. It takes us at a massage parlor. It takes us at a Braves game. No matter where you are, if you see a small sign that says ‘wait a minute, something doesn’t look right there. I can know how to recognize this. I can make a difference,'” Watson said. “It takes all of is. We are going to continue to grow this across our state.”

Watson, a father of three, explained why the issue of human trafficking is personal to him and should be to anybody with children. The Secretary believes that MBAT will not only slow the cruelty of trafficking, but it will also save lives in Mississippi.

“Every single person that gets educated. Every employee, every one of these individuals that’s educated that sees something and then reports it, you may save a life — you’re going to save a life. This program will save lives in Mississippi,” Watson said. “As a parent, I can’t tell you how important this is. All of us that have children understand the importance of this issue.”

For any businesses looking to partner with MBAT, click here.

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