Sex trafficking in La.: A bigger problem than one may think

Photo purchased from iStock at Getty Images

Photo purchased from iStock at Getty Images

A recent sex trafficking training for advocates, volunteers and nonprofits revealed an alarming fact: Caddo Parish ranks highest in the state — tied with New Orleans — for number of children forced into the sex industry.

“What is so sad and devastating is that people turn a deaf ear to it,” said Shamaro Pennington, a Project Celebration, Inc. advocate who attended the training. “It’s happening right under our noses.”

Sex trafficking is defined as adults working in the sex industry through force, fraud or coercion or any children under 18 involved in the sex industry.

According to data from the Department of Children and Family Services, 102 of 172 sex trafficking victims in Louisiana in 2015 were children. Eighteen of those victims were under the age of 12. And according to data from the FBI, 13 of those children were rescued from the Shreveport area.

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