HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline Data report Pennsylvania received more than 900 calls about human trafficking in Pennsylvania in 2020. The 9th highest in the nation.

“It is happening in plain sight and it requires people to keep their eyes open to say something and it requires diligence on the part of law enforcement to go after these cases,” said Fran Chardo, Dauphin County District Attorney.

Which is why Dauphin County formed a human trafficking task force, headed by Assistant District Attorney Erin Varley.

“There are approximately 43 investigations open in the county right now that have a human trafficking element,” said Varley.

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A year in, they are seeing some alarming trends. For instance, traffickers are using social media to groom children.

Even more disturbing…

“I would say at least half of the child trafficking cases we are investigating or prosecuting right now the care giver or the parent is the one trafficking them,” said Varley.

The Dauphin County District Attorney is also taking a different approach when prosecuting prostitution cases.

“We deal with these cases much differently and recognize that they may be victims of human trafficking,” said Chardo.

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“Almost 90 percent of individuals engaging in prostitution it is forced,” said Varley.

In the past those that were being forced into prostitution were getting harsher charges or sentences than the person soilciting.

“The patronizer of prostitution, when I started as prosecutor, that was a summary offense and now is appropriately dealt with as a misdemeanor offense and it can go all the way up to a felony,” said Chardo.

There is still one major road block in the fight against human trafficking

“One of the biggest things is reporting it,” said Varley.

The law requires transportation hubs, like train stations and bus stations, to post the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

“So people know there is someplace you can call if you see something and it’s actually a summary offense not to post it,” said Chardo.

The abc27 Investigators found the number posted in several places in the Lobby of the Amtrak station In Harrisburg. We did not find any signs at the the bus station on 4th and Chestnut Streets in Harrisburg.

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According to Greyhound, which rents the space in the Harrisburg Transportation Center, a poster should be posted in the Women’s restroom. A Greyhound spokesperson said they would be following up with management.