National author brings awareness to child sex trafficking issues

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MONROE, La. (KNOE) A national author brought awareness to Monroe families Tuesday night about child sex trafficking during a seminar at ULM.

Pamela Samuels Young talked about the hidden dangers of how children are sexually exploited: Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Young even wrote a book "#Anybody's Daughter" which is a mystery novel that touches on trafficking.

She says trafficking can happen to any kid.

"People always think, 'Oh those poor girls, those poor runaways.' They don't understand that it can happen to their children," said Young.

Lynn Clark from the Children's Coalition for NELA even says, "As a parent of a young girl, is that it's not like the movie 'Taken.' It's not like what we think child sex trafficking is. It's happening in our neighborhoods, it's happening right down the street, and it's happening to kids who could be sitting right next to you in school."

According to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, there were about 680 cases of human trafficking in 2017.

356 of those were children.

Young hopes parents become vigilant about their kids' online presence.

"I tell people if your child has a cell phone, a predator has direct access to your child in your house, so you need to know what your children are doing online," said Young.

Predators even create fake profiles to lure children in.

"And a kid who's seeing a profile of another 13-year-old is thinking they're talking to or going to sneak away with the kid, and unfortunately they find out that it's not."