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Lehigh DA to host trafficking recovery expert

District Attorney Jim Martin announced an upcoming visit from The Rev. Becca Stevens, of Nashville, Tenn., an author, speaker, Episcopal priest, founder and president of a nonprofit recovery model (Thistle Farms) that helps women survivors of human trafficking.

In 2019 in an effort to better combat human trafficking in Lehigh County and to aid its victims; a team of Lehigh Valley stakeholders led by Martin visited Thistle Farms in Nashville, Tenn. The trip was generously funded by The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust.

Martin has invited Stevens, a founder of Thistle Farms, to visit the Lehigh Valley area Sept. 26 and 27 to meet with community leaders and others to educate the local community about human trafficking victims and the Thistle Farms model.

The Thistle Farms’ recovery model is a two-year program that includes housing, health care, counseling, employment and other support for women who have a history of being trafficked and in many cases have an alcohol and/or substance use disorder.

The visit of Rev. Stevens is being graciously funded by The Leonard Parker Pool Institute for Health. District Attorney Martin expresses his sincere thanks and appreciation to the Institute for its help in this endeavor.

Lehigh County Auto Theft Task Force receives award

Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin announced in a news release dated June 1 that the Lehigh County Auto Theft Task Force, as well as other law enforcement agencies, received an international award for an investigation leading to the prosecution of a criminal organization stealing heavy equipment, utility trailers, commercial trucks and other equipment.

Criminal charges against several individuals for offenses committed in six Pennsylvania counties were consolidated and prosecuted in Monroe County.

The organization targeted heavy equipment, utility trailers commercial trucks and equipment from active highway construction sites and home construction developments throughout Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Carbon, Monroe and Luzerne counties, according to the news release.

The investigation uncovered thefts totaling an estimated $1 million and to date, $500,000 in vehicles, equipment and tools have been recovered.

The award was presented to the following law enforcement agencies related to the investigation:

•Lehigh County Auto Theft Task Force members detectives Sal Aprile, Joseph Conway and Chad Wasserman. The Task Force is supervised by Chief Deputy District Attorney David J. Mussel.

•Pennsylvania State Police Auto Theft Task Force East and Central

•Pennsylvania State Police Troop N

•Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Mark Matthews

•Mount Olive Township Police and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.