COLORADO SPRINGS — Experts say human trafficking is a growing problem across the world and especially in the United States.
“A lot of people think it’s something that happens far away this happens in Thailand somewhere else, it happens right here in Colorado Springs,” Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado Julee Beller said.
Human trafficking is considered the modern form of slavery or sexual exploitation is no longer a foreign problem. It’s happening in the state and happening in plain sight. One of the contributing factors is social media.
“Young people are very vulnerable because they are out there, on social media, they put themselves out here, there in many ways,” Beller explained. “They put themselves out there, maybe they’re not connecting at school or home and things online is safe, traffickers pick up on those signs and pick up on it quickly.”
According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, over 300,000 of America’s young population is considered at risk for sexual exploitation. It’s also estimated that 199,000 incidents occur within the U.S. each year.
“They put themselves out there, maybe they’re not connecting at school or home and things online is safe, traffickers pick up on those signs and pick up on it quickly.”
Beller is the chair of this year’s Human Trafficking Symposium at Colorado College this weekend. The theme is “One Thing,” what’s the one thing you can do to help stop human trafficking.
“Let’s say you’re a teacher or a coach or work at a school, maybe you could set up an awareness campaign,” Beller suggested. “What are the questions we ask, what are the question we ask, what do I do if I suspect one of my friends is being trafficked.”
The 12th Annual Human Trafficking Symposium is Saturday, October 26 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Armstrong Hall on Colorado College campus.
Click here to register, it is free.