TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Human trafficking is modern day slavery. It's a problem both globally and locally.
On National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, many are talking about what they're doing to end the practice.
"I was trafficked as a 15-year-old teen by a boyfriend which is all too common of an experience," said Christa Hicks, a licensed mental health counselor and executive director at The Porch Light.
A victim of human trafficking herself, Christa Hicks managed to escape, finding solace from her trauma in drug addiction which lead her back into being a victim for a second time in her 20s.
"After being retrafficked a second time, it just fully led to trauma and the cycle just continued," said Hicks. "At 29 years old, I fell in love with God from a jail cell and went away to a long term program. I came home after a year and started my education process."
Hicks and others working with The Porch Light, a safe home to help restore the lives sex trafficked girls, know that there is always one more person that needs help.
"It's that one more that really weighs on me. It's that one child, one more child that's waiting for our care, that is waiting for a rescue, but waiting for help," said Jerry Haag, the president and CEO of The Porch Light, Florida Baptist Children's Homes, and Orphan's Heart. "Between those two pieces, the one that drives me on is that one more that's on the outside waiting to be rescued."
Trafficking is a problem that continues to plague not only the community but also the country. Rallies and marches like the ones on Thursday are signs of encouragement for those fighting to end modern day slavery.
"This is a new season and days like today are just the start of what's to come," said Hicks. "We are collaborating like never before."
Collaboration, all in an effort to save those still caught in the trafficking system.
Human trafficking is nothing new. In fact, WTXL's Insiders has done a number of stories regarding human trafficking, how victims are taken, efforts to help them recover after escaping, and Florida's effort in fighting this crime. You can find that story here.