COLORADO SPRINGS – Earlier in August, a major law enforcement operation was conducted by the FBI, Operation Cross Country, to identify and locate human trafficking victims. 

The FBI worked with state and local police, social service agencies, and other federal agencies. 

“It could be an older person. It could be a younger person. It could be a male or female,” said Robert Tornabene, Civilian Public Information Officer CSPD. “Anybody can be a victim of human trafficking. So there’s not one particular profile of it, although there are some more consistent profiles where typically they might be.”

Reclaiming Hope cares for survivors of sex trafficking and helps them in a variety of ways.

Executive Director of Reclaiming Hope, Sues Hess, said they partner with law enforcement throughout the United States to provide them with Hope Bags.

“We need your help because my shelves are empty,” said Hess. “Our volunteers have worked like crazy to send out the bags used in Operation Cross Country and now we have more requests we cannot fill without the public’s help.”

Hope Bags, which contain a clean pair of clothes, hygiene products, and comfort items, are given to trafficking victims.

“When the FBI and the task forces rescue someone, their investigation requires that they take the clothing that the victims have on so they can do DNA testing,” said Hess. “They have no budget to give people a fresh set of clothes.”

CSPD said they are working to locate sex trafficking victims in El Paso County.

“There are a lot of victims out there that we don’t see that we have not been notified about or that we have not investigated yet,” said Tornabene. “We know that statistically there’s going to be more than what we ever catch. And our goal is to try and catch as many of them as we possibly can.”

Reclaiming Hope works with the goal to help trafficking victims know there is hope.

“Here is hope,” said Hess. “We don’t want the victims to feel like there’s no hope because there is hope that they can be rescued, that they can get out, that they can start over.”

FOX21 News and Reclaiming Hope are partnering together for a donation drive outside the FOX21 studio at 560 Wooten Road from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. on Friday, August 26.

“We ship out Hope Bags to any law enforcement requesting them at no cost to them,” said Hess. “We need your help. We need everything that goes in a bag and there are over 30 items.”

A full list of the items being collected and information on supporting Reclaiming Hope can be found below.