January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and Wyoming officials are reminding people to be aware of their surroundings.

According to statistics from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there were 10,949 human trafficking cases in the U.S. in 2018 -- a 25 percent jump from 2017.

There was also a human trafficking incident in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, in January 2018, in which a Washington man was arrested after picking up two female runaways, ages 12 and 14, in Seattle and transporting them to Little America with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

The man, David Peter Vier, later pleaded guilty in federal court and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

"The only way we can look into that is if we know about it," said Wyoming Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Jeremy Beck. "So if you see something, say something."

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, you can get help by calling 1-888-373-7888, by texting 233733 or by going online to humantraffickinghotline.org.


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