TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) On Thursday, the Indiana Youth Institute hosted a training program specifically on the dangers of child trafficking.
Teachers, law enforcement and other community members who work with children gathered at Chances of Services for Youth in Terre Haute to learn how to suspect and report trafficking.
It’s the fastest growing crime business in the world.
Child trafficking isn’t just a problem affecting large cities. Evidence shows it’s happening all over the United States including small counties.
Workshop leaders discussed the problem, who is targeted and how to identify victims of child trafficking.
According to the program’s southwest coordinator Whitney Weir, the victims consider themselves in a relationship with the person that’s responsible for their trafficking. They see themselves as helping someone they love rather than seeing themselves as a victim.
This creates a large obstacle for officials to stop the problem.
Weir says people also don’t want to accept something this bad could be happening in their communities.
“I think some communities are still having a hard time accepting that kids are being sold for sex in their cities or they’re being forced into different forms of labor,” said Weir. “So I think that’s a big barrier that we face is that people don’t want to believe that it’s happening.”
The Indiana Youth Institute hopes education like today will stop this fast-growing problem.