MILWAUKEE -- Human trafficking is a crime that's touching every race, age and gender in Milwaukee. The epidemic is becoming more prevalent in our area, and one non-profit trying to combat the epidemic by teaching young people the signs of the crime.
They're gathered in a classroom, but these kids are about to get a lesson about life on the streets learning about human trafficking.
"There are at least 1,500 girls that are missing in this community," said State Senator Lena Taylor.
Taylor wants them to understand the startling statistic.
"You live in a community that is a hub for human trafficking," said Taylor. "It's the 'Pimp School of America.' That's what they have called us for years."
Grateful Girls, a non-profit organization that works to empower, encourage and inspire youth in the community, held a summit called "Stay Out Of The Game 101." The event aimed to bring the illegal, underground crime to the light.
"What is human trafficking?" asked executive director and founder Chandra Cooper. "What does it look like? What does it
smell like? What are the symptoms?"
Cooper shares how human trafficking comes in many forms, including sex and labor. She said it's vital we understand all of the signs.
"We have facilitators who are survivors. We have people who are experts and here to give info," said Cooper.
Summit participants talked about spotting unhealthy relationships and being aware of predators.
"A lot of predators are finding our youth on social media," said Cooper. "They inbox them. Also, you may be going to the mall and someone pulls you aside."
Boys and girls ages 10-17 were invited to attend, because predators and victims have no boundaries.
"It's surprising and it's mind-blowing," said Antoinette Frazier, 16.
Spreading early awareness could be a way to help safeguard this generation.
"It makes me want to be aware of my surroundings," said Star Johnson, 17.
In addition to the seminar, there was also a self-defense class to make sure the children would know how to protect themselves. You can learn more about Grateful Girls by clicking HERE.