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Anti-trafficking advocates gather at the Texas Capitol to raise awareness

Attorney General Ken Paxton, members of the human trafficking division and survivors of trafficking are expected to speak at the event.

AUSTIN, Texas — If you see something or someone suspicious, call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST. Tips are anonymous.

The attorney general of Texas as well as anti-trafficking advocates and survivors spoke outside the Texas State Capitol Wednesday.

Hosted by the Texas Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime division of the attorney general's office, the event was scheduled for noon. It's part of an effort to recognize human trafficking victims and survivors.

Attorney General Ken Paxton, members of the human trafficking division and survivors of trafficking spoke at the event held outside the south steps of the Capitol. Sophia Strother, chair of the Human Trafficking Survivor Council, was also in attendance.

In 2017, KVUE took an in-depth look at the sex trafficking industry in Austin, Texas, and in the U.S. in a special called "Selling Girls." Sex trafficking is a billion-dollar industry in the U.S. And traffickers are preying on young girls across the nation – our daughters, sisters and friends.  

RELATED: 

Selling Girls | Sex traffickers are targeting American children

Saving Girls | Teens are being bought and sold for sex, but you can help

The average age of trafficking victims is just 15 years old, according to a Shared Hope International research study. The nonprofit group works in the prevention of sex trafficking and the restoration of those who have been victimized through sex trafficking.

The Shared Hope International analysis also took a close look a who is purchasing girls for sex. They found the buyers are most often men around 40 years old. The nonprofit reported that nearly a quarter of buyers hold a position of authority or trust, such as an attorney or law enforcement. Approximately one in five buyers have a job working with children. 

Know the signs to look for in girls who are being trafficked and have conversations with your children to prevent them from falling prey. 

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