KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- It's a crime that may not always be seen, but it's often in plain sight. Human trafficking is a crime the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking said is thriving across East Tennessee.
The walls were being painted and furniture organized for the office space of the new and larger safe house for CCAH Tuesday. Director Kate Trudell said the space will expand over the next three years to include apartment-style housing for girls rescued out of the sex trade.
"They need everything from clothing to food and safe housing, they need social and life skills, some have never held a job," Trudell said.
According to the International Labour Organization, children comprise more than a fifth of all victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Of one million victims, 21 percent were under the age of 18.
Trudell said communities will have to step up to put a stop to the sex trafficking of women and children, and that there are several red flags a person can be on the look out for.
Look for signs of physical abuse, signs of drug use, someone clearly controlling someone else, not letting them move freely about, or go to the restroom by themselves, maybe looks like they are living out of their car," Trudell said.
Trudell said in the past three years, the organization has helped more than a 150 women of all ages who have escaped human trafficking.
She said much of the sex trafficking begins on the internet. "We are seeing these crimes take place in homes, hotels, in parking lots at truck stops," Trudell said.
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