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Local sheriff’s office assigns first ever human trafficking investigator

A Pitt County narcotics detective will now work in full-time human trafficking investigation
Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 7:19 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - It’s a crime that’s not talked about every day, but human trafficking still happens all over the county. In fact, North Carolina was ranked 9th among all 50 states in the number of cases reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2019.

With this in mind, the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office has assigned their first and only full-time human trafficking investigator. Travis White, who was sworn in in 2011, transferred from their narcotics unit Monday to work exclusively on human trafficking cases.

White said he remembers investigations in which this crime into play. “I’d like to be able to see those investigations through from the beginning to end,” he said.

With other crimes like murder and robbery often top of mind for the sheriff’s office. Sheriff Paula Dance said there hasn’t been proper focus on human trafficking until now.

“They’re going to have somebody now that’s going to work with them from beginning to end,” said Dance. “Not just an officer that comes to take a report and you never see them again.”

White will work closely with North Carolina Stop Human Trafficking, a local coalition that helps educate the public and provide victims with resources. The founder and CEO, Pam Strickland, said she looks forward to strengthening the relationship.

“More investigations into cases of human trafficking, more arrests, more prosecutions, more convictions,” she predicted.

Sheriff Dance has wanted to make this a priority since before she became sheriff. For her, it’s another step to make things right.

“We’re going to hold these traffickers accountable and bring them to justice,” she said.

The sheriff’s office new Human Trafficking operations unit will be added to their other two special units, Narcotics and Street Crimes.

Copyright 2020 WITN. All rights reserved.

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