SAN ANGELO - Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a new video to encourage and inform everyone in the Lone Star State about on how we can all be the eyes and ears in the fight against human trafficking.
"There is trafficking going on in San Angelo, known trafficking, it's being watched," said Judy James, shelter program manager for the Concho Valley Home for Girls.
She says most victims of sex trafficking don't realize they are being trafficked.
"People buy into these ads where we see with children chained up to metal cages, and that really does a disservice to the whole trafficking prevention and awareness campaign," said James.
She adds trafficking hides behind many faces, but anyone being sold for sex is considered to be trafficked.
"If somebody is holding someone else’s papers that’s a definite sign of trafficking, if a child is never going to school that’s a sign of trafficking" said James.
She says traffickers use abuse or threats in cases where the victim is a child. In other cases they hold the victim against their will altogether.
“A lot of times you know somethings going on but you can’t quite put your finger on it and there is no shame in calling law enforcement with suspicions," said James.
One neighbor taking action was all it took to free a young woman who had been sold into sex slavery right next door. – Ken Paxton, AG
Executive Director for Children’s Emergency Center Sammy Ruppeck says a lot of people have a misconception of what trafficking is.
"Ninety percent of the kids that we work with have been sexually abused one way or another generally by a family member,” said Ruppeck. “It’s really interesting when it's your parent who is holding you victim and victimizing you and using you as a sex slave one way or another."
Texas is responsible for the nation's second highest number of calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
And here in the Concho Valley, Ruppeck says they do everything they can to help victims overcome the struggle of being abused and in some cases trafficked.
"We take those children or young people who have been victims of abuse or neglect and try to build with them and give them safety,” said Ruppeck.
It only takes one person, one call, to report something suspicious. And that one call could save someone's life. For the full video from the Attorney General click here:
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