TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- The U.S. Department of Defense says human trafficking is the world's fastest growing crime and it's a problem locally that can affect anyone. One group is leaving something you might not expect around hotels and motels in the Capital City hoping to get information to girls who may be in trouble.
"I've been passionate about fighting human trafficking for awhile. Just seeing the gravity of the situation around the world, as many as 27 million people are trafficked right now, just trapped in modern day slavery," said Christie Arnold. Arnold is a volunteer with The Freedom Outreach project.
Preventing modern day slavery is what The Freedom Outreach initiative is all about. Instead of flyers or brochures, They leave chapstick with information about local resources you can call 24/7.
"We're just hoping to provide a lifeline to victims of human trafficking during their situations when they may not know that they're victims. They're being isolated. They're being threatened," said Arnold. Why chapstick? Arnold says it's discreet, easy to hide and has all the information someone needs to ask for help.
According to the National Human Trafficking hotline, in Florida hotels and motels are top venues for trafficking. The Department of Children and Families identified 19 minor sex trafficking victims in Leon County since January 2018.
The Freedom Outreach teams says if these chapticks can reach just one of those people, then their efforts are worth it. Supplies are donated by local churches and organizations. When they don't have enough chapstick, The Freedom Outreach team buys them out of pocket.
"We are limited by the number of chapsticks we have. We can do the leg work. We just need the ammunition," said Erich Von Hinken, a Freedom Outreach volunteer.
Daniela Castro, another volunteer said, "Being able to do something even though I'm still getting my degree, I'm not necessarily in the field yet, it's amazing to be a part of something that can do good and create a chain reaction hopefully and help some lives."
They hope effects from this local push can prevent people across the state and the world, from becoming victims. If you want to help, The Freedom Outreach needs chapstick donations. They're always looking for new volunteers to grow this project.
For more information, visit: https://www.surviveandthriveadvocacy.org/