TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Toledo ranks fourth in the United States in the human sex trafficking trade. It's part of a national epidemic.
Prayer vigils are being held across the country this weekend, including Toledo, calling for an end to the abusive trade.
"Many young girls and young men are taken across state borders and we need to step up to the plate," said Sister Ann Marie Borges of the Sisters of Notre Dame.
They lit candles on Friday night at a church called That Neighborhood Church in North Toledo to shed light on the trafficking trade.
Organizers said trafficking is not specific to any particular culture, religion or economic status. It effects everybody.
"I think it's a lack of respect," said vigil organizer Sister Sandy Sherman. "It's all about having dignity. We've lost a lot of that."
"The big thing is to be able to create an environment where they can go and actually step out of prostitution," added Pastor Pat Cannon of That Neighborhood Church.
That's why later this year, Pastor Cannon is opening Rahab's House in North Toledo. Women trapped in prostitution can live there, eventually transitioning into healthy independent living.
"Women will actually be able to live there with a house mom model," Cannon explained. "They'll go through a year to year-and-a-half program in order to get back on their feet."
There are several things you can do to prevent human sex trafficking: Contribute to a place like Rahab's House, or do what they did at That Neighborhood Church: Pray.