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Raising awareness on human trafficking

Photo provided by Erie County Sheriff's Department

A federal, state, and local task force fighting human trafficking has launched a new billboard campaign.  WBFO's Eileen Buckley says it aims to raise awareness about this serious crime.

Erie County Sheriff deputy Elizabeth Fildes is program director of the Stop Human Trafficking Program.

"It's very, very big and every day we are finding more and more victims," said Deputy Fildes.

The victims of human trafficking are traded mostly for labor and sexual slavery -- some for the use of their organs. Many are often young victims.

"The age of entry for most girls into domestic human trafficking is the age of 12, so we know that it's important to teach our children very early that this is occurring," said Fildes.

With children and teens using so much social media, they have become even more vulnerable to human trafficking through the internet. 

One of slogans for the billboards states "I AM NOT FOR SALE." It was designed by a 10-year old Lancaster girl. The billboards will be displayed throughout 17 counties in the Western District of the state over the next six weeks.   

Deputy Files says human trafficking is more prevalent in our local community than citizens realize.