Attorney General Lynn Fitch dedicated the annual Christmas tree lighting to homicide victims across the state on Wednesday. However, she also took time prior to the lighting to talk about another group of victims that the state is seeing more and more of these days – human trafficking victims.

“People don’t realize it’s going on across the globe but it’s also going on in Mississippi,” said Fitch. “If you look at human trafficking right now there are over forty-million men women and children that are in trafficking right now.”

Human trafficking is one of the largest and fastest growing illegal industries right now bringing in over $150 billion dollars annually.

Fitch said her office is working to eradicate it in the state and one of the first steps on that mission is to recognize that it is here. She said her office works closely with federal and state partners as well as local law enforcement to see justice done for victims.

“The first part is awareness. We have to go out into the community and say here’s what you look for, here are the dynamics of what is happening to these children that are being trafficked and how do we help them,” said Fitch. She said the ultimate goal is to get these individuals back into society healthy and with no shame or blame.

The Attorney General is looking at the issue from all different angles including cyber-crime. Housing and assistance are imperative because these individuals need a different kind of support before reentering society.

With the yearly Christmas tree lighting, Attorney General Fitch said they do this in honor of homicide victims. She said this lighting is a reminder to families across the state that they are not alone or forgotten.

“We stop and acknowledge these families, these loved ones that have lost their family members and we say we are here to support you in any way we can,” said Fitch. She said there were over 600 crime victims in Mississippi this year, and this tree is for them.

Typically, families are invited to attend the lighting ceremony, but due to COVID restrictions the event was much smaller.  Fitch’s office will send the families a video of the lighting and remarks.