WACO, Texas — Human trafficking can take many forms. 6 News has covered stories with women being trafficked to work illegally in massage parlors, and other cases where a local woman was lured away from her family. Saturday, the Heart of Texas Human Trafficking Coalition and Unbound fought back with their "Not In My City Outreach" event.
Unbound Global Director Susan Peters said the event relies on volunteers to make the event happen.
"People come out, they get their basic human trafficking training, and then they pair up and go to stores, gas stations, truck stops, hotels, and put up signs," Peters said.
Peters said around 60 people showed up to Antioch Community Church for the training on Saturday. There were also training events in Bosque County and Hill County.
The event trained volunteers on the basics of what human trafficking looks like and what a victim may appear like.
The flyer said a person is potentially being trafficked if:
- They are not free to come and go as they wish.
- They are involved in the commercial sex industry (striping, pornography) have a manger and are under 18.
- They do not have control over their personal documents or money
- They were recruited over false promises.
- They are forced to provide labor or commercial sex.
Human trafficking can be used for both sex and for forced labor in the Waco area. Peters said it was very difficult to find out exactly how much is going on as much of the activity is organized online. Waco is also located on a main transportation route for human traffickers.
"We are right on the I-35 corridor and so traffickers move victims throughout this area. We have a high poverty rate, a high homeless rate, and so that makes a lot of vulnerabilities for our own people here to be exploited," Peters said.
Peters said the LGBTQ population is also targeted for human trafficking.
To report suspected trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.
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