TYLER (KYTX) - The Smith County sheriff's department is teaming up with crisis and sex trafficking education groups. They're giving law enforcement and the public insight on how to spot sex trafficking and possibly help slow down or stop the ever rising problem.
Research shows more than a third of sex trafficking cases in the US are in Texas. Law enforcement says children with histories of abuse, low self-esteem or poor living environments are the most likely victims. Runaways are especially at risk.
Within a 48 hour period, one in three will be approached about sex trafficking or become a part of that underground world.
"What happening is our children are being abducted and forced into any type of sexual commercial type of business," said Susan Monroe with the sheriff's department.
Research says the average age of a sex trafficked prostitute is 13-years-old. That's why the sheriff is teaming up with other groups at Tyler Junior college west campus Friday and Saturday to bring light to the issue. The hope is that if east Texans know the warning signs, they can identify sex trafficking and stop it.
"We want as many people there as we possibly can because it is such a good venue for getting some of the information out," said Monroe.
The Friday symposium is for law enforcement only, and the Saturday symposium is open to the general public. There are limited seating so registration will be necessary.