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Secretary Watson announces new...

Secretary Watson announces new statewide initiative in collaboration with MS businesses to combat trafficking

By: Anne Summerhays - October 5, 2022

Mississippi Businesses Against Trafficking (MBAT) will raise awareness, empower businesses to combat human trafficking. 

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Michael Watson held a press conference to announce a new statewide initiative in collaboration with Mississippi businesses.

Secretary Watson introduced Mississippi Businesses Against Trafficking (MBAT), a statewide initiative by the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office to raise awareness and empower Mississippi businesses to combat trafficking. 

“As an MBAT member, we ask that you take advantage of the educational materials available to help you better understand the issues surrounding human trafficking and how to recognize it in the workplace,” the MBAT website states. 

The following Mississippi businesses or business organizations are participating in the program: 

  • The Dutch Group
  • The Mississippi Braves
  • Mississippi State Board of Massage Therapy
  • Mississippi Hotel & Lodging Association

In September, the Secretary of State said the issue of human trafficking is one he has been passionate about since his time in the Mississippi Senate.

“Early in my career, I was approached by some individuals who wanted to discuss specific instances of human trafficking in our state,” Watson said. “After a lengthy discussion, I knew this was a serious issue I wanted to pursue, and I did.”

“In the Legislature we were able to pass key pieces of legislation that both strengthened our fight against human trafficking and helped shed light on the subject, but I knew more needed to be done,” Watson continued. “As Secretary of State, I’m committed to continuing the work for greater solutions and prevention. Our team researched and discussed with other Secretaries of State around the nation how to utilize the business sector to heighten awareness. As I’ve learned about other initiatives, I put our team to work on how to best implement a comparable program for our businesses here in Mississippi.”

Secretary Watson encouraged Mississippians to utilize the MBAT website for educational materials about the different types of human trafficking, warning signs, and ways to enhance vigilance in your workplace. 

The website contains free training resources including videos, interactive modules, and who to contact when suspecting instances of human trafficking. 

“Through your education and understanding, you can empower your employees, customers, partners, and the rest of your business community to join our fight to combat human trafficking,” Watson added. 

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth. Email Anne: