Each year, millions of people are trafficked around the world, including here in Central Texas.
It's a multi-billion-dollar industry that continues to grow. Human Trafficking denies freedom to millions of people worldwide. No matter where you live chances are human trafficking is happening nearby.
Saturday, thousands of people across the U.S. took part in the Walk for Freedom rally including in Austin. Demonstrators wore black and marched in single file from Wooldridge Square Park to the Texas State Capitol eventually circling back to the park.
The Walk for Freedom rally is a global fundraising event, aimed at raising awareness on the dangers of human trafficking. "It's the fastest growing crime in the world and so it's lucrative people are making money out of it and they're switching from drugs to human trafficking. So we need to find a way to stop it." Doug Vanpelt attended the rally and says he was surprised to hear that human trafficking is happening in our own backyard.
"It's happening all over right under our noses suburb America. Even like the case I heard in Houston Texas nice little clean suburb and there's like this five-bedroom house all these cars going in and out and it's a brothel all these women are kept there against their will," said Vanpelt.
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the number of human trafficking victims are continuing to increase across the state of Texas. They estimate that 79,000 minors are being trafficked in the sex trade industry in the lone star state.
Demonstrators say they're hoping to shed light on the growing issue by educating the community and say it takes one person to spot something and make a call that can potentially save a life. "Because we can help just a phone call can help rescue people in fact last year 10,000 phone calls came into A21 and they were able to follow up and help free people," said Lori Champion.
While standing together in the fight against human trafficking.
"There somebody's son or daughter and so if that was your son or daughter you know you would drop everything to help that person," said Vanpelt.