Human Traffic Watch

Human trafficking expert to visit Africa

In Human Trafficking on October 18, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Elizabeth Fildes will take a step into the belly of the beast this week when the Erie County sheriff’s deputy embarks on a 13-day tour intended to educate law enforcement officials in those countries on how to recognize and prevent sex crimes.

As a local leader in the anti-human trafficking effort here – Fildes has been involved in almost every major investigation over the past six years – she brings front-line, street-level expertise to any discussion of sex trafficking.

Charles Lewis/Buffalo News Elizabeth Fildes will give lectures and hands-on training on how to investigate and prevent human trafficking during a 13-day mission to Africa.

“It’s a crime that’s been hidden for so long,” Fildes said of the problems in Africa. “They’re finally coming to the realization that it does exist and that Americans and Europeans go there because of the sex trafficking.”

Fildes, who is recognized nationally as an expert in human trafficking, was picked as an envoy by the U.S. State Department and will visit several countries, including South Africa, Gambia, Botswana and Central Africa, as part of her mission.

She will give lectures and hands-on training on how to investigate and prevent sex trafficking, especially among children, a subject she is all too familiar with as head of the Western New York Human Trafficking Alliance, a task force of state, local and federal law enforcement officials.

The trafficking in underage girls and boys is especially acute in Gambia, an annual vacation destination for thousands of Europeans. Fildes said the government there has asked for her help in training its police force on how to deal with sex crimes.

“They have not been educated enough or made aware of the problems there,” Fildes said. “I see my mission as a way to reach out to them.”

Source: Buffalo News

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