Deb Bard helps victims of human trafficking.
She is the program director at Lititz-based North Star, where they house and provide services for victims.
“Women don’t up and decide to be a prostitute,” Bard said. “To hear how much they’ve been hurt and the extent to which they feel pain in every area of their lives, it’s incredible.”
Hearing those stories, Bard has also heard how much the crime is impacting Lancaster County.
“Lancaster County is a tourist destination,” she said. “So, for example, out on Route 30 where all those hotels are, I’ve heard it said that there is virtually no hotel where sex trafficking does not take place.”
Last year, Lancaster County had it’s first human trafficking trial. Dominic Roach was convicted of running a ring that ran from New Jersey to Lancaster.
Since that trial, there have been discussions of starting a task force to target the crime, but now the district attorney’s office has taken its first step to make it happen. Within the past week, the office has applied for a grant to start the task force.
The force would be made up of police, community groups and agencies who have jurisdiction across the county.
“The more people who are involved in the cause to eradicate this evil, the better,” Bard added.
The district attorney’s office would not say how much the grant is for, but it hopes to have the task force up and running in the coming months.