LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Human trafficking has claimed victims worldwide and East Texas is no exception.
Investigators from Washington D.C. were in Longview Thursday educating police on techniques to fight human trafficking, which most often leads to forced prostitution.
"They can take them anyplace in the United States. Unless the young lady makes a plea for help, otherwise you'll never know. So this human trafficking continues," says Overton police officer Joe Cantu.
Experts say the internet is most often used to lure teenage girls into someone's confidence.
"You do have situations where they are lured in these are children that are vulnerable. They are alone, by themselves and a predator will be looking for that," says Missy Zivney.
In East Texas, some work closely with the rare few that have escaped the traffic ring.
"We'll call her Tess. She's 15 years old. One thing that she said was I wanted to believe time and time again that this man, individual, truly loved me, truly wanted to take care of me, but all they wanted to do was take advantage of me," Zivney says.
Often, victims are brought in from Mexico.
"Young ladies are being brought into the country. Once they get them on this side, they turn them into prostitution to pay for having been transported into the United States," Cantu says.
The fight is to stop those who prey on children.
"The misnomer is that this is something that happens overseas. but its happening everywhere," says Zivney.
A non-profit group called 'Refuge for Light' is building a home in East Texas to shelter and counsel victims who have escaped the trafficking ring.
Law enforcement officers at Thursday's event say human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries.