FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – Ninety-four children were brought together Wednesday night in Franklin. They were photographed to bring significance to a tragic and escalating trend.
“This is such a dangerous crime that we got to make some giant waves,” says Cara Deese.
The children represent the 94 kids trafficked every month in Tennessee. It’s the country’s second fastest growing crime– and it hits all communities, happening more than you might think.
“As a mom of three boys, it could be my kids,” Deese told News 2.
She helps lead an End Slavery Tennessee volunteer group in Franklin. Together they organized a photo-op Wednesday to symbolize the young lives being lost.
“It’s 94 potential victims and that’s the scariest part,” said Deese. “Unfortunately, if we don’t talk about it, it will never, never stop.”
On Nov. 9, the TBI, Brentwood police and Homeland Security busted 22 men for trying to have sex with 14 to 16 year old girls. This is the reality women like Deese and Ivy Jenkins are well aware of and now hoping to spread that awareness.
“There’s so much more of it that’s under reported and not being caught and that’s absolutely what’s happening with human trafficking,” says Jenkins, a volunteer with End Slavery Tennessee.
Young people are being lured into it on the internet. They’re brainwashed and often kidnapped, abducted into these vicious rings.
But Wednesday’s 94-person reminder Deese and Jenkins organized to stop trafficking is the message that must be told.
“If I jump and I make a ripple, it’s just a small ripple, but if I get 500 to jump with me, it’s a giant ripple,” says Deese.
A ripple that makes a difference, perhaps saving a life before it’s lost.
The average life expectancy for a child after being trafficked is just seven years. Children are trafficked as early as the age of six and most commonly around 13.
For additional information on how to spot human trafficking, including the 16 red flags and ways you can help, visit EndSlaveryTN.org.