CMPD on lookout for sex trafficking with big event in town

by: Stephanie Coueignoux Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - As thousands descend on uptown this weekend, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police will be closely watching for a serious crime unfolding in Charlotte: human trafficking.

CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe said his officers are looking for sex traffickers in the obvious places -- on the streets -- but also in places that are easier to hide – online.

“There’s a great focus along highway corridors that relates to hotels and motels along those corridors,” Monroe said.

But Monroe said, you will likely never see many of his officers because they will be behind a computer screen trying to bust criminals looking for sex online.

“They found more creative ways to advertise it. It would be one minute and down the next minute,” Monroe said.

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CMPD has teamed up with the FBI, Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney's office in an effort U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins said is necessary when dealing with big events like this weekend's playoff game.

“Keep more eyes and ears on the ground to help us to identify traffickers and put these guys in jail,” Thompkins said.

North Carolina has a C-rating for sex trafficking violations up from a D-rating a year ago thanks to stiffer penalties.

Thompkins said she expects that C-rating will only improve next year.

Thompkins said officials plan to set up a statewide help hotline for sex trafficking victims by the end of the year.  Right now there are only local hotlines.

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