Group brings awareness to human trafficking

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Human Trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing criminal activity in the world. In fact, a child is sold every two minutes somewhere around the world.

"Over 300,000 victims of human trafficking are currently in Texas," Texoma Child Abuse Prevention, member Catherine Earley said.

That ranks Texas second in the nation for the most number of cases. Statistics from Traffick911 show 50 percent of those victims are children.

Homeless youth are more likely to be approached by a trafficker within the first 48 hours of running away or being kicked out.

"You don't have the basic things to survive and if a pimp can offer those things to you they are going to seem more attractive to these youth," Earley said.

Traffick911 stats also show with as many as 2.4 million runaways at least 800,000 children are at risk of being lured into sex trafficking each year.

Earley said pimps believe they don't have to prepare the children because social media is doing it for them.

"Roblox is a place where I've seen it popping up lately and that's not something I've heard of previously," Earley said.

Just last year a man from Amarillo was put behind bars in Wichita County charged with human trafficking after officers with the Electra police department stopped a vehicle with three men and three women inside.

Officers interviewed the man who admitted to posting one of the victims on and texted customers to pay for sexual acts with the victim who was 17-years-old.

"Texas has a huge area of great concern called the triangle," Earley said. "It's the highways that connect DFW to Austin and San Antonio areas going over to Houston. So if you think about where Wichita Falls is in relation to that, we're not very far away from really a hub of human trafficking in the United States."

The last human trafficking case the Wichita Falls police department investigated was in January 2016 but it did not result in any arrests.

On Thursday, Texoma Child Abuse Prevention is hosting two training sessions to inform community members how to avoid traffickers.

The first session will be a four-hour course that will start at 8:30 a.m.

The free course is designed for law enforcement, medical professionals, educators, clergy, child welfare and other adults in the community interested to learn more about human trafficking.

The second training will be a one hour course that will kick off at 6 p.m. This course is designed for adults and youth older than 11.

Both of these sessions will take place at Evangel Temple Church.

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