Human trafficking is something we see in movies or hear about on TV in far off places. In reality, it can happen anywhere, including the United States and right here in Central Georgia.
Once a victim, April Scarborough shared her story about being human trafficked right here in Georgia.
“I recall how I felt dizzy and unable to stand,” Scarborough said. “I would try to leave and was forced back by a group of men.”
That's why she hosted a human trafficking awareness event in hopes of helping others not fall victim like she did.
Cynthia Smith is the volunteer director of Out of Darkness Middle Georgia, an organization that helps victims of human and sex trafficking.
“It really opens your eyes to the darkness that’s going on around you,” Smith said.
Several times, a month they go out to hot spots for prostitution.
“It happens in Atlanta, Macon, Warner Robins, anywhere there’s people, there’s potential for people to be trafficked,” Smith said.
Kimberly Granich is a special agent with the FBI. She says anyone who has some vulnerability can become a victim both men and women.
Granich says it can be as simple as someone with low self-esteem, or someone with an abusive parent.
“These traffickers realize that they have a need, and the traffickers come in and meet that need of these individuals, whether it's kids or it's adults, and they exploited those,” Granich said.
To remember those who were and are currently being exploited, they lit candles.
“Use your voice, it’s the biggest weapon we have in this fight for freedom,” Scarborough said.
The US Department of State estimates 800,00 people are trafficked worldwide annually.