Teens learn of human trafficking, prostitution dangers

July 31, 2013 (CHICAGO)

The 150 students, between 13 and 15 years old, are part of a paid internship for at-risk kids. Many said they are already aware of the dangers.

"I realize it was going on because I have some friends that say it almost happened to them. They've almost been kidnapped," Deana Huicochea, teenager, said. "What I got out of this is that I should be more careful of who I talk to and who I hang around with because I might not know what may happen."

Community activist Andrew Holmes and an undercover agent with the Chicago Police Department's task force that deals with human trafficking spoke with the students about the problem.

"We're dealing with you guys. It's younger kids. It is not older ladies that are forced into it," the officer said. "At first they buy you things. They get close to you, and pretty soon things escalate. Next thing you are out doing things you never thought you would do."

"I learned that you never know who the perpetrator is. You have to watch yourself, and watch who you give information to," Andre McGowan said.

A billion dollar industry, human trafficking is on the rise in Chicago and around the nation.

"You have more women trafficking these young women, forcing them into human trafficking and the drugs, they're no joke," activist Andrew Holmes said.

Anyone with information about child trafficking or prostitution should call the Chicago Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force at 312 746 7510. The hotline is open 24 hours.

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