Girls are being sold for sex in East Texas. Sex trafficking is a problem CBS19 has been highlighting in our "Selling Girls" series.
In a panel with multiple law enforcement agencies from several states, officers discussed the sad reality at Green Acres Baptist Church on Tuesday.
Agencies include Tyler Police, Smith County Sheriff's Office, Dallas Police, FBI Shreveport and Longview Police.
Donna Fraser with a local advocacy group, Rescue and Restore, said she wants parents to know how easy it is for their kids to get involved, and manipulated, into being trafficked.
"This is a reality, and if we don't wake up to it, it's only going to get worse. I cannot tell you how many mothers I've talked to that said, 'how did my daughter get into this?'," Fraser said.
Survivor Allie Braden spoke on the panel. She said traffickers do not pick up girls and stay local.
"We see girls that are trafficked to Shreveport. To Kansas. It's like this hub. Traffickers know that a girl who gets picked up from Kansas, and you bring her to another state, the person looking for her won't be looking in Texas," said Braden.
At 20 years old, she was forced to have sex with 15 men a day with the promise to make money and have the life she dreamed of.
Today she is a victim advocate at For the Silent – an organization in Tyler helping with crisis intervention and survivor care.
She hopes the panel will show the community the reality of sex trafficking in East Texas.
Other groups in attendance were Refuge of Light, Redeemed Ministries, Rehab's Ranch and Retreat, Pure Hope Foundation, Jesus Said Love and WINGS.