Has A Human Smuggling Ring Been Operating In Central Maine?
To many people, it does not seem possible that something like human trafficking or human smuggling could be going on here in quiet, peaceful, Maine. However, in recent years, our local law enforcement agencies have seen more and more evidence that this is the case.
You may have heard that, earlier this week, police found 17 "immigrants" staying in a home in Lisbon Falls.
We now have a few more details about this incident.
According to WMTW, the seventeen people found living in that home, located at 93 Main Street in Lisbon Falls, have been described by the US Border Patrol as being "undocumented non-residents". All of them are reportedly from Nicaragua and Guatemala.
They were reportedly employed by a Massachusetts-based company that had also rented the Lisbon Falls home where they were staying.
Based on photos from the US Border Patrol, the people were living in rough conditions. They were sleeping on air mattresses that were tightly packed on the home's floor. Each only had a light blanket to cover them.
In the article, US Border Patrol agent William Maddocks is quoted as saying:
We are seeing a sharp increase in the flow of illegal labor in and out of Maine. Border Patrol will continue to protect our local communities here in Maine and the U.S. as a whole by ensuring those illegally entering the country are apprehended.
It is expected that charges will be filed on those involved in the situation in the coming days.
In this particular case, it appears the people were here in the US willingly. Sadly, that is not always the case.
In recent years, human trafficking has become a huge issue across the country, including here in Maine. Young woman and men (mostly women, though) are kidnapped and brought across the country for all kinds of terrible reasons.
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, since 2007, there have been 863 "signals" in regards to human trafficking in Maine. Most of these were in the form of phone calls, but some were text messages, emails, and web chats.
If you believe you have witnessed a case of human trafficking, don't wait, report it to the hotline now. Call 1.888.373.7888 or text 233733 Get all the details HERE