Rockbridge County nonprofit aims to help prevent human trafficking

25 million people are victims of trafficking, according to a nonprofit

Nearly 25 million people are victims of human trafficking.

ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. – According to Safe Horizon, a nonprofit that works to prevent human trafficking, 25 million people are victims of trafficking.

Nonprofits in Virginia, like Project Horizon in Rockbridge County, are getting involved to help reduce the number of people who could be human trafficking victims.

Staff hosted a seminar at Whites Travel Center, the largest truck stop on the east coast.

“I hope they learn valuable information to recognize when someone is a victim,” said Cathy Lynn, the human resource manager with Whites Travel Center said.

Project Horizon got a $180,000 grant from the state to help victims.

Part of the money is used to host seminars with Rockbridge County sheriff investigators about the signs of human trafficking. It’s critical because according to Safe Horizon, about 16 million people are trafficked for forced labor.

“I think that places like Whites Travel Center and truck drivers who are covering the highways and small highways are crucial at ending trafficking,” Ellen Wheeler with Project Horizon said.

Investigators with the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office said it is crucial truckers or anyone report anything that looks suspicious, like a person appearing malnourished, or not allowed to speak for themselves while at a stop.

“In our area and corridor there’s a lot of traffic that comes through is always a good thing,” McCullough said.