Augusta, GA -
Human trafficking is a problem worldwide -- and right here in Augusta.
One study estimates as many as 325,000 children in the US, Canada and Mexico are at risk for sex exploitation each year.
Medical experts tell WJBF that the issue is bigger than we think in the CSRA. They say some of the child and sex abuse cases in our area, largely in Richmond County, could be tied to sex trafficking -- although there are no official statistics to back up that claim, WJBF's Julie Parise reports.
The Garden City's location along I-20 on the way to Atlanta, one of the country's biggest hotbeds for trafficking, put it at a higher risk for sex exploitation. Because of these findings, Georgia Regents University is raising awareness by hosting presentations on the issue.
Experts say large sporting events -- like the Masters -- often create a higher risk of trafficking.
“It seems that every big sports event, there’s a draw, because people are in a party mood and the men are buying women to use," said Dr. Gloria Halverson, a human trafficking expert who will speak at GRU on Thursday. "So at events like the Super Bowl, the World Cup, any big sports event -- and the Masters certainly qualifies as one of those -- you’re going to see women being flown in, driven in, told to make a certain amount of money.”
The experts are GRU wanted to emphasize that this is not just a problem associated with the Masters but with any large event which draws a large crowd.
GRU hopes that education will aid doctors in identifying human trafficking victims.
Today's presentation to students is the last of three events this week aimed at raising awareness about human trafficking in our area and abroad.