SEMMES, Ala. (WKRG) — The City of Semmes is set to declare itself a trafficking-free zone this week.
They got the idea from a human trafficking victim, whose hometown is Semmes. Breigh Vigor was sexually exploited online from her bedroom when she was a middle school student. We spoke with her earlier this year.
She and the city of Semmes teamed up to try to make sure no one else has to go through what she did.
Semmes city officials say they are taking a stand against human trafficking as a way to protect their community.
They’re shedding a light on a difficult topic and hoping to do by becoming a trafficking-free zone.
“Public safety is a priority,” said Helen Joyce, a Semmes city council member, and Mayor Pro Tem.
The city is partnering with Vigor. Vigor was exploited for three years before her parents found out. She told us earlier this year their claims weren’t taken seriously at first.
Semmes city officials say when they heard that Vigor and her family weren’t taken seriously at first, that was part of the reason they wanted to take this on and set an example for other cities.
“It wasn’t well-received when she was a victim, that’s something we want to change. And make sure. That’s why it was important to have all our first responders and police to make sure we’re not ‘oh it’s minimal it’s something online,’ it’s still important,” said Joyce.
Three things need to happen for the city to become a trafficking free zone:
- The city must issue a proclamation stating they are a trafficking-free zone.
- The city needs to change its employee handbook, and implement an HR policy to address discipline and termination of employees found buying or soliciting sex while on the job.
- All employees will be trained on how to detect human trafficking and how to report it
“Us having a new police department as well, we can bring in the other personnel that we need to train and get them on board with this and recognize it. And we can help other departments as well,” said Todd Freind, the Semmes Police Department Chief.
The city will vote to make Semmes a trafficking-free zone on Thursday. The mayor says they believe it will pass without any issue.