CHEVERLY, Md. - From coast to coast, people are trying to raise awareness about sexual assault and sex trafficking. In Prince George's County, officials are cracking down on strip clubs that may be trafficking underage girls as strippers. It has been a story FOX 5 has been following for nearly a year.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and on Thursday night, people gathered at Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly to "Take Back the Night." The event was about raising awareness of sexual abuse in our neighborhoods.
Survivors of sexual abuse along with those who survived the sex trafficking underground world so few are aware of told their stories here. They held a candlelight vigil to pay tribute to victims - young girls and women who are bought and sold for sex.
Tina Frundt, a sex trafficking survivor and the founder of Courtney's House, an organization that works with sex trafficking victims, talked with us about this problem.
"Finally, people are identifying and referring more survivors and realizing that it's every kid - not just a runaway, not just a kid in foster care," she said. "Because traffickers can be in our home right now when we have the internet. More kids actually in the suburbs are getting recruited because of talking to online people they don't know."
Frundt talks to parents all the time who say they want to give their children privacy, but the internet and social media are where a lot of these offenders are luring kids in.
The KiK messenger app seems to be not only popular among kids, but popular for sexual offenders as well.
How big of a problem is sex trafficking in the area? Frundt said it is really difficult to know because there isn't any funding to research this topic and it is a problem that is now really coming to light over the past few years.