It's estimated that one in every four human trafficking victims in the U.S. will travel through Houston at some point.
In our continuing efforts to bring awareness to "human trafficking" in our city...we're talking about specific signs you at home can look for.
If you look closely and know what to look for, what specific clues, you will be able to see where and how trafficking is occurring in your community....you may even be able to help that victim by asking the right questions.
Nobody knows human trafficking better....than Chong Kim.
"I met a guy who posed as a boyfriend and told me he wanted to take me to a different state and that's how I was trafficked," said victim Chong Kim.
Blinded by what she thought was real love, she left college where she was pursuing a degree in law enforcement and went with him....little did she know...she would be trafficked for the next 3 years.
"I was held as a prisoner in an abandoned home and then transported to a distribution warehouse in Nevada and from there the traffickers would control me and other girls, 25-50 in each unit, transported through warehouse trucks," said Chong.
In order to escape the system....she had to "rank up" and become a madam....she gained her traffickers trust and while out on an errand by herself....she started running....and never stopped.
Help though....is something she didn't find for quite some time.
"I was that girl, when nobody was listening to, saying help me, this isn't a choice, and because I was in stiletto heels and lingerie people thought I was a prostitute, and I said oh no, and I cried," said Chong.
Chong is now 37 years old and dedicated to helping other victims....but she says the only way to fight trafficking is through awareness and realizing it's happening right here in Houston, possibly in your own backyard.
"I think people need to know it's not just an urban, inner city, projects problem, it's everywhere, but if we're not paying attention to the signs we could walk past a business that's doing trafficking," said Chong.
We turned to Julie Waters, Director of Free the Captives, for specific clues you can look for:
"The girls that are constantly running away from home or who are homeless or throwaways. Does the girl have a tattoo and is reluctant to talk about this tattoo? Does this child or this girl have unexplained new clothes, hair being done or fingernails, bruises or cuts, things she can't explain or tell you about?" said Julie.
Julie also mentions an older boyfriend is a big clue and evidence of being controlled.
Asking the right questions will also help you figure out if the person in front of you is a trafficking victim who needs your help.
What type of work do you do and are you being paid?
Can you leave if you want?
What are your working and living conditions like?
Do you have to ask permission to eat, sleep and use the bathroom?
And has your id and documentation been taken away from you.
If you think you have encountered a victim of trafficking call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.3737.888.