Savannah mayor warns of human trafficking risks at St. Patrick’s Day celebration

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SAVANNAH — Savannah’s mayor and police chief are asking residents to be on the lookout for signs of human trafficking during the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.

St. Patrick’s Day is returning for the first time since 2019 and as with any large scale event, there is the potential for an increase in human trafficking incidents. The Savannah Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is trained in recognizing the signs of human trafficking. Officers will be stationed throughout the celebration area during events and will be looking for any signs of this type of criminal activity.  

“We do not anticipate any issues with human trafficking incidents during our St. Patrick’s Day celebration, but it is important to know the signs and be aware of the potential risk,” said Mayor Van R. Johnson, II. “I appreciate the Savannah Police Department for remaining aware and vigilant, and I urge all eventgoers to do the same.”

Anyone who sees any signs consistent with human trafficking should call 911, CrimeStoppers at (912) 234-2020, SPD Special Victims Unit at (912) 651-6742, or the Human Trafficking Hotline at (866) 363-4842.

“Although we have not had any issues with human trafficking in Savannah in recent years, we know that the potential is always there anytime there is an event with a large draw of people,” said Chief Roy Minter. “SPD officers, as well as our law enforcement partners, are ready and prepared and will be keeping our eyes out for any activity that fits this category.”

Signs an individual may be a victim of human trafficking:

  • The person appears disconnected from family, friends, community organizations or houses of worship
  • The person has sudden or dramatic changes in behavior
  • A juvenile is engaged in commercial sex acts.
  • The person is disoriented or confused and shows signs of mental or physical abuse.
  • The person has bruises in various stages of healing.
  • The person is fearful, timid or submissive.
  • The person shows signs of being denied food, water, sleep or medical care.
  • The person is often in the company of someone to whom he defers or someone who seems to be in control of the situation.
  • The person appear to be coached on what to say.
  • The person is living in unsuitable conditions
  • The person lacks personal possessions and appears to not have a stable living situation.
  • The person does not have freedom of movement or unreasonable security measures.

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