AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Thousands of victims of human trafficking continue to make their way through Amarillo.
"We have trafficking going on in many of our small towns and cities throughout the Panhandle," Patrick Bernson, Executive Director for One Amarillo, said. "This critical issue goes on because people are not aware and are not educated on what to look out for."
"We're seeing Facebook used now to lure young girls and young boys into trafficking situations," Bernson said. "Predators are becoming more and more blunt and really aggressive on the way they pursue children online."
Predators can easily make fake profiles, befriend children and draw them into sex trafficking rings.
Interstate 40 runs through Amarillo and allows for hundreds of victims to pass through...many times unnoticed.
Officials said most people including officers, are unaware of which signs to look out for so human trafficking cases are hard to catch.
In Bernson's opinion, no one is safe from predators in today's society.
Both teenage girls and boys are at high risk to become victims of human trafficking.
"It could very well be your daughter, your sister, your granddaughter or your grandson who is the next trafficking victim here," Bernson expressed. "If you do not know what to look for in the lives of those young people who you care about then you are going to be ill equipped to deal with the problem when that it confronts you."
Bernson said there is a lot of human trafficking activity happening inside our local high schools and even junior high schools.
"We have specific information that tells us prostitution rings are active within our high schools. People are recruiting our middle school students in the schools as well as outside of the schools and in our mall, so really there is no safe place for our students to let their guard down."
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