LAREDO, Texas (KGNS) - Every year thousands of people are trafficked into the U.S. for sex or labor exploitation.
However with Laredo at the front-line, a group of local ministries are being given a toolkit to help rescue victims.
In visiting Laredo, Dr. Goatley and a team of researchers found the city prone to problems with human trafficking.
Dr. Goatley also found a strong network of religious and faith based organizations helping victims of trafficking that can fall into sex or labor exploitation.
Dr. Goatley's team developed a toolkit with flowcharts, and expert advice to help organizations in town like Casa De Misericordia carefully approach potential victims.
Goatley also addressed red flags like a person not being able to identify a place of residents, avoiding eye contact or being malnourished.
With the toolkit the team hopes to build on the awareness of the problem to be able to provide victims with hope.
Since 2007 the National Human Trafficking Hotline reports identifying nearly 4,000 cases but because law enforcement in Texas is not required to report statistics specific to human trafficking cases, knowing the real extent of the problem is challenging.