WABASH VALLEY, Ind. (WTHI) - 84 children were saved in a recent FBI raid; those minors are victims of sex trafficking.
Some of those children are from Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and South Bend.
Unfortunately it is a growing problem here in the Wabash Valley. In fact it's only about 10 years ago that Indiana passed its first law against trafficking.
Trafficking is now the fastest growing crime industry in the world.
The founder of Susie's Place in Terre Haute, Emily Perry, says there are local groups who sell kids for sexual favors. She sees it regularly in her job working with these victims.
Perry says the biggest misconception with trafficking is that these children travel out of state to be sold. When in fact, she says this is not the case.
“It is way simpler than you may think,” Perry explained. “Kids are being identified and selected for trafficking from common games online. Whether they're in row blocks or an app on their phone and they're meeting people. They're being groomed for child sex abuse and trafficking."
The push to save these minors comes after a nationwide FBI investigation that arrested 120 traffickers. Perry says the problem continues to grow because of social media.
The best prevention she says is building relationships with children.
Without a trusted adult to speak up a child you know could even find themselves in this awful reality. Professionals are relying on you at home to report any concerns you may have.
There is a safe hotline number you can call to voice those concerns. That number is (888) 373-7888. You can also text the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 233733 (Text "HELP" or "INFO") 24 hours, 7 days a week.
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