BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) – January is human trafficking awareness month. A local group is looking to educate others about the growing trend.
"The fact that some of the clients that I work with and some of the kiddos that I love are susceptible to this injustice makes me extremely passionate about it. It feels really close to home,” said Amanda Buenger, a child welfare lawyer and executive director of the anti-trafficking group, Unbound.
Buenger says Bryan/College Station is in the middle of the "Texas Triangle," an area connecting Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. It's one of the nation's most heavily trafficked areas.
"Of course it's happening in the major cities,” said Buenger. “But the cities that are also located within those corridors are susceptible because traffickers can cut across and through the smaller, rural communities."
Last year in Texas, there were a little more than 5,000 human trafficking reported cases. Many started online.
"We're seeing a lot of traffickers use and utilize social media to interact with a younger person,” she said. “Often times not identifying who they are and they will start connecting in a relationship and talking to that young person."
That's why Buenger says she got involved with Unbound and why she's fighting so hard to stop trafficking and provide support to those who've been affected.
"I want to see this end and I don't want the Brazos Valley to be a place where this is allowed to happen,” said Buenger.
Unbound has four chapters across the state.
If you know of someone who may have been trafficked or is trying to get help, you can visit unboundnow.org or contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline. The number is 888-373-7888.