Group looks to end human trafficking in Kent Co.

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Leaders and community members met to talk about human trafficking and how to stop it in Kent County.

On Friday, Calvin University hosted the forum. The Kent County Human Trafficking Task Force invited the public to participate.

The discussion focused on the illicit massage parlor business in Grand Rapids, which is an industry with a $6 million economy.

The group SEE: Solutions to End Exploitation, a Grand Rapids-based group dedicated to combating human trafficking, praised a move by the city to curb the practice.

Last month, commissioners passed an ordinance that could crackdown on illicit parlors.

The group says it’s a step in the right direction, but more community involvement and resources are still needed.

“The problem of human trafficking is complex and daunting. We don’t want that to stop us from seeking solutions,” said Rachel Verwys, the group’s executive director. “Are we going to end human trafficking overnight? No, but we can take steps forward at a policy level and a practice level.”

SEE and the Kent County Human Trafficking Task Force will be hosting another summit like this in January.              

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