State and local officials tour areas of Columbus known for high sex trafficking activity

(WTVM) - It's what many call "modern-day slavery" and at first glance, you may not know it's there.

"Its a problem everywhere," says Tim Echols, Georgia Public Service Commissioner.

Echols and the 4Sarah organization teamed up to show human trafficking and the sex trade is lurking throughout the state of Georgia. It's happening right here in our backyards and it's an issue that affects over 28 million people.

"Can you imagine one of your daughters being sold 5 to 15 times a day and often times the injuries including kicking and getting your teeth knocked out? These girls are getting roughed up," says Echols.

Echols and 4Sarah are showing the harsh realities of the sex trade in Columbus all through a bus tour around the city named "The Unholy Tour." The bus made stops at some of the areas well known for high sex trafficking activity,  including Greyhound Bus stops and adult film shops/venues along with hotels and strip clubs.

Local law enforcement including Lt. Joyce-Dent Fitzpatrick from the Columbus Police Department, Muscogee County District Attorney Julia Slater, and Mayor-Elect of Columbus, Skip Henderson were also on board the bus for the tour.

"Having the media involved in this is important because those folks who watch the evening or morning news may know something or someone who may be involved or a victim in the trafficking [and report it]," says Echols. "And if they are rescued, then the healing process begins."

If you think someone is a victim of human trafficking we encourage you to contact the numbers for the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Text the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 233733

Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free hotline at 1-888-373-7888

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