By: WVUA 23 News Reporter Amber Boswell

Weeping Mary Baptist Church hosted a human trafficking forum Tuesday evening to discuss ways to break the ongoing cycle of human trafficking.

The church teamed up with the Tuscaloosa Police Department to host the event.

Darren Beams, commander of the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force, was the guest speaker.

He said he believes it is important for the community to learn the red flags when it comes to human trafficking because it is a community issue.

“Try to make yourself aware if you can’t be here for the signs of the signs and the symptoms of the things to look for and not just in your children, but when you are out in the store,” Beams said.

Adolescents should tell a trusted adult if anything online makes them feel sad, scared or confused.

The Rev. Ricky McKinney said he wants parents to know its “OK to parent” and keep tabs on what their child is searching online because it could prevent them from falling prey to a predator.

“Everybody needs to be aware and I really believe that it is a public safety issue to be aware of human trafficking and to find out as much information as they can to protect themselves that’s our major concern that the members of our congregation and not just them, but the members of our community,” McKinney said.

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