ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – We’re just weeks away from some of New Mexico’s biggest yearly events, that will bring tens of thousands of people through Albuquerque. It also comes with an increased threat of human trafficking and local groups are ramping up efforts to try to get the word out. “When there’s an expected increase in a population in an area there is going to be an increase in human trafficking,” said Shelley Repp, CEO of New Mexico Dream Center.  

Albuquerque is no exception with events like the state fair and Balloon Fiesta over the next two months. “Being a time where we have a lot more population coming into our city and so there for traffickers are looking for more opportunities to make more money,” said Repp.  “There most likely is an uptick, but it’s in the reporting. It’s getting people to report,” said Vickie Duran, Special Investigations Director at the New Mexico Attorney General’s office.    

Story continues below:

Getting more people to report human trafficking and helping those who are victims of it is the goal of the Albuquerque non-profit called “Dream Center.” For the last several years the group has had a few volunteers walk the fairgrounds and the surrounding neighborhoods offering help to people on the street. “We’re also looking for folks that look differently than kind of the regular people that are in the street, that are perhaps being brought into Albuquerque and don’t even know they are in Albuquerque or in New Mexico,” said Repp. 

This year they’re putting even more focus into the state fair, roughly quadrupling the number of volunteers they’ll have patrolling the streets. They have as many as twenty people ready to help. “We’re able to really hone in and increase our efforts because of the number of people and because we’ve been tracking what on the streets of Albuquerque,” said Repp.  

Knowing that human trafficking is often tied to sex work and threats of violence, The attorney general’s office says there’s a big need for outside help. “It’s highly unlikely unless a victim is ready to get out of that environment that they will say anything, it’s up to the public and the law enforcement entity to report what they are seeing,” said Duran.