Austin Braces for Formula One, Rise in Sex Trafficking

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The community of Austin, Texas, is getting ready to welcome Formula One racing and also preparing for an expected rise in human trafficking.
   
Austin police are leading a Formula One task force to combat the problem.  Police say it's a crime that grows anytime Austin gets a spike in visitors. 

"When we have big crowds of people we are going to see it more," Dolores Laparte-Litton with APD Victim Services, predicted. 
   
Larry Megason, founder of the anti-trafficking non-profit Restore a Voice, explained, "They will come to our clubs; they will enjoy our downtown district as they should. There will be a lot of partying going on, but they want more than that."

"There are many people who come for the seedy side of the sporting event," he warned.

Restore a Voice is working to raise $1.3 million to create a shelter for trafficking victims. The group will offer food and lodging as well as medical care and counseling.
  
Another Austin group has produced a documentary called "Trade in Hope" to tell the stories of girls and women trapped in sex trafficking. 

"Traffickers regularly beat them into submission and generally there is a process of breaking down an individual's will," producer John Nehme explained.
   
Across the country there's a growing recognition that large gatherings of people, be it at political conventions, conferences or sporting events, tend to encourage traffickers.  The hope is that by raising awareness communities can discourage those who would exploit others and provide help for victims.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

Heather Sells enjoys reporting on a variety of issues for CBN News. Some of her recent stories have focused on religious liberties, technology, AIDS, overseas missions, domestic trafficking, and politics.  Follow Heather on Twitter @SellsHeather and "like" her at Facebook.com/HeatherSellsCBNNews.