Groups, law enforcement rally to fight human trafficking - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Groups, law enforcement rally to fight human trafficking

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Tyler (KYTX) -- Law enforcement and activists banning together to put an end to human trafficking. Sadly, many cases involve children.

A rally held in downtown Tyler on Wednesday shed light on the cases being cracked right here in East Texas, and what's being done to fight the problem.

I-20 is nicknamed the "Sexual Slavery Superhighway" and we spoke to a survivor who proves the victims aren't always women.

Brandon Darby doesn't enjoy opening up about what happened when he was 13 years old. He says after suffering abuse by a family member he ran away from home and wound up fighting to survive on the streets.

He eventually became a victim of human trafficking.

"After a number of days without water and food, and having any shelter or security, they fall into the first person or group who will give them security. And often times those people who are there are there to take advantage," Darby said. 

He explains pressure and shame he felt, kept him from reaching for help.

"Over a period of time, I think kids just get really beaten down," Darby said.

After 2 years, Darby had the courage to get out, and get under the roof of a loving family member. He's since become an activist so people know it's not just a problem overseas.

"They think it's people in a shipment coming from Mexico or coming from China. Human trafficking is either done for labor or sex," Darby said.

Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith told a crowd of 100 people that all law enforcement agencies are turning on the heat.

To commemorate the occasion, Mayor Barbara Bass declared September 18, 2013 Anti-human trafficking for the City of Tyler.

The three groups who organized the event Refuge of Light, For the Silent, and the Liberty Task Force, are all teaming up for this same mission and are resources in East Texas.

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