COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The average age of a young girl involved in sex trafficking is 14 years old, some are as young as 10.
An advocacy forum in Columbus on Saturday focused on how to put an end to the problem that has made it's way to small towns and neighborhoods and even the Fountain City.
"We definitely want to keep our young women safe," said Larae Moore.
Taking a stand against Human Trafficking was the focus at the 2nd annual social action luncheon sponsored by the Columbus Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Human trafficking can involve forced labor or sexual exploitation. According to the Columbus Police Department, the problem is already present in the community. Part of the panel discussion was Lt. Joyce Dent-Fitzpatrick of Special Victims Unit which includes sexual exploitation at the Columbus Police Department. She recalls first seeing the issue in 2003.
"People need to be informed on things that could possibly happen in our community. Sex trafficking is not just an Atlanta problem its a Columbus problem as well. We are being trained to investigate it and notice the signs of sexual explicit runaways," said Dent-Fitzpatrick.
State Representative for District 91, Dee-Dawkins-Haigler was the keynote speaker for the forum. Haigler says sex trafficking is a $32 billion industry and Georgia is the empire of the south for sex trafficking.
The sorority says this forum is part of their political awareness involvement commitment to do something about this growing issue.
"Hopefully if people see that if the Delta's are involved in this issue, hopefully that will hype people awareness. At least make people want to pay attention to what is it and help prevent it." said Larae Moore, President of the Columbus Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Two women turned advocates stood before the audience and told their stories as past victims of sex trafficking. Dorsey Jones, A Morris Brown College graduate, helps rescue young girls from the trap she found herself in -- now working with the Salvation Army and formerly as a probation officer with the Fulton County Juvenile Court.
Sharron J. Brown, a certified Life Coach of Atlanta also said the sexual exploitation seed was planted in her at the tender age of 5 when she was molested by a female babysitter.
Law enforcement says it could happen to children and men. If you see something, they want you to report it immediately.
"You could be living next door to a house and has a lot of traffic. You need to be aware of what could be going on over there," said Dent-Fitzpatrick.
In early December, two people were arrested for a sex trafficking at a home on Gleason Avenue in Columbus.
Each month, more than 200 girls are sold for sex in Georgia. Click here for more information about the warning signs of sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation.
Representatives Carolyn Hugley and Calvin Smyre, Columbus Police Sex Crimes Investigator Joyce Dent- Fitzpatrick, Muscogee County Marshals Office and Pastor Adrian Chester served on the panel during a forum moderated by WTVM's Weekend Anchor/Reporter Roslyn Giles at the St. Luke Ministry Center.