BALTIMORE — Human trafficking is happening everyday in our city and it doesn’t look exactly how most people think.
For a lot of young people they can be living what seems to be normal lives while under the trap of and trafficking ring.
Baltimore is close to major interstates and airports, convention centers and casinos.
All those outlets make the city an easy target for traffickers.
On Thursday night, the youth ambassadors with Let’s Thrive Baltimore joined Baltimore City Councilman Kristerfer Burnett for a Facebook live on the topic.
Lisa Molock founded Let’s Thrive Baltimore to guide young people to lead in their communities.
“They will get you to trust them because you’re weak,” Molock said. “You may say I hate my parents, I want to die, I want to kill myself. I was a runaway and i was vulnerable. They offered a place to stay, food, nice clothes. Then when you want to leave, you’re not going to be able to leave.”
Dayona Evans is one of the high schoolers who lead the discussion.
She talked about how traffickers work together and build a team to seek out their victims.
“Once they see your social they look to see what you’re posting,” Evans said. “See where you’re at and see what your posting and comment to get you to feel comfortable. If you’re feeling comfortable with them they are going to try and meet up with you and take you places even out of the country and out of the state.”
Councilman Kristerfer Burnett is the the co-Chair of the the Baltimore City Human Trafficking Collaborative.
“We train City employees on how to identity it,” Burnett said. “We’ve worked on a number of pieces of legislation to make things better in the city of Baltimore. We’ve launched the Human Trafficking Grant Fund which, shout out to Let’s Thrive Baltimore, received funding this year.”
Perriyon Harris shared how his peers can identify trafficking.
“If you have a home girl or a friend and she come to school and she’s got a tattoo and all these expensive things like shoes cars clothes but you not use to seeing her come to school like that," Harris said. “Even if they maybe consent to the traffickers if they try to leave the traffickers may threaten their lives or families.”
Angelia Wilson is just 15 years old and she shared how she almost became a victim of human trafficking a few months ago.
“A brand DMed me saying that they want me to be a part of their brand,” Wilson said. “I was really really excited because I wanted to be a part of that brand. Because I know about human trafficking I went straight to my mother and I asked her if she knew this brand or if she could search it up for me. When she did she found out it wasn’t a real brand.”