The Center for Families and FREE, the anti-human trafficking coalition of Shreveport-Bossier want you to know one thing, sex trafficking of minors happens right here in our area. Community activist Chris Chandler works with the organizations and says they're starting to fight back.
"So, we're very interested in spreading the awareness and creating an atmosphere where people just don't think this is something that happens over in Bangkok," Chandler said. He says he and others have witnessed minors they suspect of being victims in downtown Shreveport.
"What we observed in downtown Shreveport at a local casino one evening was two young girls sitting outside the casino itself, inside the lobby outside the gambling area," he said. "They were wearing revealing clothing."
It's a scary situation that was also brought to light last summer when 30 pimps were arrested in Shreveport-Bossier during the FBI's Operation Cross Country. FREE Co-Founder Shobana Powell says her organization started soon after.
"So, that's when we decided this really needs to happen here," Powell said. "We really need to something about it, and we know our community would do something if they knew it was happening. We want to be the place people can go to and say, 'how can I help.'"
Powell says a local ministry finds and helps several minors every weekend right in our area.
"The Hub Ministry helps about 70 victims every other weekend," said Powell said.
FREE and the Center for Families offer emotional support to sex trafficking victims. The organizations will hold a seminar on April 9th about sex trafficking. It will be held at Ristonante Giuseppe on Line Avenue. For more information email email@example.com.