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Local agencies bringing awareness to National Human Trafficking Awareness month

A push is underway to raise awareness about Human Trafficking. It's an issue hiding in plain sight in communities across the country and right here at home.

TOLEDO, Ohio — January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and one big push for it is teaching people about the more common whereabouts and ways it happens.

In reality, wherever business happens, trafficking can be happening because it's a business too.

"There are a lot of myths being traveled around about people being snatched when they go to the mall or somebody tying something to your car and when you get out they snatch you," said Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute Executive Director, Dr. Celia Williamson

Dr. Williamson said although snatching and grabbing happen,  that type of trafficking is not the most common. Parks, schools and online are more common because traffickers are usually looking for teenagers or young adults that are vulnerable.

"They manipulate and slowly chain a young person's heart and a young person's head, they don't have to physically chain them," said Dr. Williamson.

She said that's what this month is about; teaching people to learn the different and the more complex ways trafficking happens.

"What I invite parents and neighbors and adults to do, is go old school. We're going to take care of our children, we're going to take care of other children and we're going to learn about the reality of trafficking," said Williamson.

She said if everyone is staying alert for the scary scenarios, we are overlooking the simple manipulation happening in common places.

There are also some apps that can be downloaded to help fight human trafficking. Those apps allow you to identify signs of human trafficking, report suspicious activity or even upload pictures to a database to compare with victims that are photographed and sold online.

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