State, federal officials track an increase in human trafficking cases across Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS – The U.S. Attorney’s office is tracking an increased number of human trafficking cases across Indiana, as law enforcement increases efforts ahead of the Indianapolis 500.

In the past three weeks, four large arrests involving human trafficking have been made statewide including in Lafayette, Terre Haute, Fort Wayne and Muncie.

“I don’t think it’s unique,” an undercover officer said who works on human trafficking cases. “I think it’s happening a lot.”

Recourses from the Attorney General’s Office to FBI and U.S. Attorney are targeting activity across the state.

“We’ve had a couple other stings where females were afraid to talk to us,” the undercover officer said. “Knowing that their pimp or whoever you want to call them will retaliate.”

Ascent 121, a Carmel-based organization that helps teenage human trafficking victims, said since January they’ve worked with between 40-45 teenage girls from Central Indiana, all between 11 and 17 years old.

“It is absolutely something we see year-round,” Megan McGuire said, CEO of Ascent 121. “We’ve seen it in the big cities. We’ve seen it in the suburbs. We’ve seen it from the rural communities, so it’s a pervasive issue that’s happening all throughout the state.”

Click here for human trafficking resources from the Attorney General's office.