Tyler, TX (KYTX) -- It's a type of slavery still thriving and profits an estimated $32 billion a year. While one voice is easy to ignore, dozens of UT Tyler students are banning together to make it harder to tune out.
"People are just kind of curious what's the big red X for?" David Longar, a UT Tyler student and activist, explained.
He and others say many people are unaware this slavery exists, even among peers.
"A close friend to one of my friends said her mom had trafficked her and her sister out of the back room of their house growing up," Haleigh Mosely, a volunteer with Refuge of Light, said.
Refuge of Light is a Tyler organization dedicated to helping rehabilitate victims and giving them a safe haven.
"We're in the process of building a house in the East Texas area, it'll be the third house in Texas alone," Mosely said.
80 percent of people sold as sex slaves are women. Longar says that fact makes it even more important for me to get involved in their mission.
"Men are primarily the perpetrators, and I know for a lot of men, it doesn't even cross their mind these girls are slaves," Longar said.
He and other volunteers and helping get signatures on a petition to send to President Obama. It's being sent on behalf of the International Justice Mission--a group of prosecutors who want to bring criminals to justice.
You can add your name to the petition by going to the "hot button" under the Wednesday tab.