Marla Jones, Managing Editor
FORT PAYNE, Ala.-- The Fort Payne City Council held its first meeting of 2022 on Tuesday, January 4.
Mayor Brian Baine presented Bonnie Walters of Family Services of North Alabama, a proclamation naming January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in the City of Fort Payne.
Alabama’s Human Trafficking Awareness Month was established in January 2011 in observance of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, to proclaim the equality and freedom of all people, to advocate for legislation, to educate leaders, and to encourage public awareness of the various forms of human trafficking.
Human trafficking occurs when an adult or child is recruited, harbored, obtained, or exported through force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
According to the proclamation presented, the United States government estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 individuals are trafficked across international borders each year and are exploited through forced labor and forced sexual activity. The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking states the United States is the number one consumer of commercial sex worldwide.
In 2017, the University of Alabama identified 1,167 human trafficking victims within the State of Alabama. The Department of Homeland Security identified victims as young as 9 years old.
Mayor Baine and the Fort Payne Council ask all residents of Fort Payne to join them in raising awareness of this ongoing problem.
During the meeting, the Council authorized annual bids for fuel, gravel, and asphalt.
In other business, the following Resolutions were passed:
2022-01, authorizing Police Officers to work off duty and utilize City equipment per approval by Fort Payne Police Chief David Davis.
2022-02, declaring a Fire Truck surplus.
2022-03, authorizing the de-annexation of approximately 173 acres off Wooten Gap Road and owned by Nick Weldon and adjacent to the old Desoto Mills location.
The next meeting of the Fort Payne City Council will be held on January 18, 2022, beginning at 12:30 p.m.