Walk for Freedom raises awareness for human trafficking

Walk for Freedom raises awareness for human trafficking

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Dozens of people wore sparkling blue wigs are they walked down the sidewalk on Highway 90 in Biloxi Saturday. The wigs were funny and silly looking, but the reason they were being worn was neither funny nor silly.

“Human trafficking is not funny, or silly. It hurts and it changes our young adults and our children," said Susie Harvill, the CEO and Founder of Advocates for Freedom, a human trafficking awareness organization.

Blue is the color of human trafficking awareness, and the blue walkers hoped to turn people’s attention to the serious crime.

“In South Mississippi, it’s very serious. We’ve had the opportunity to help 180 victims,” Harvill said.

One of those victims, a 19-year-old woman named Ace, was brave enough to come back to the area where she was trafficked and share part of her story. When she was 16, she was brought to Biloxi to be sold.

“It means a lot to me because, it shows that people actually care,″ Ace said.

People may think that human trafficking only happens in big cities, or in places where people are constantly moving in and out like airports and parks, but the painful truth is that it could happen anywhere. Another surprising fact is that social media makes the crime easier to commit than before.

“And because of that change in values, your kids have thousands of strangers in their lives,” said Sgt. Keith Craig with the Pass Christian Police Department and an advocate for freedom.

Advocates against human trafficking warn parents to keep an eye on who their children my be talking to on the phone. Traffickers won’t hesitate to message a person and ask them to meet up or run away somewhere.

“No one says, I want to be a prostitute when I grow up. They are being prostituted," Craig said.

Human trafficking is a $150 billion industry and the third highest crime in the world according to Polifact It’s a crime that targets young girls more than anyone else.

The Advocates for Freedom want to have another awareness event in the spring.

Copyright 2018 WLOX. All rights reserved.