Lori Fullbright, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Most people think selling children into the sex trade doesn't happen in America or in Oklahoma, but it does and it's a booming business.
President Obama and former President Bush both signed orders making Tuesday National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
Being aware is the first step, but even more important is protecting our children from traffickers. Children are more vulnerable than ever to predators, because predators have more ways to find kids and their methods are increasingly devious.
They volunteer at schools and church groups to gain trust, they meet kids online, pretending to have common interests, they send gifts, they even snatch kids right off the street.
Many of those kidnap victims, missing children and runaways, are being sold into the sex trade.
Every year, 200,000 children are trafficked in the U.S. All of these people represent groups dedicated to stopping human trafficking in all forms. They are increasing awareness, saving victims and going after traffickers.
A Bixby principal started a company called Child Safety Inc, which sells a card with a USB that parents can use to compile all kinds of information about their kids: contacts, pictures, friends, blood type, and fingerprints.
Parents keep that card in a safe place and if that child ever goes missing, police can immediately download that information and share it with other agencies involved in the search.
Plus, the company gets the word out about a kidnapping through text, email and video messages.
"The timeline is very short for the recover of a child once they've gone missing," said Jon Steffins.
Many kids most vulnerable to being trafficked are runaways or in social services custody, so the company donated 100 cards to Oklahomans Against Trafficking Humans so people like social workers and probation officers can also keep information handy.
"70 percent of runaways are forced into survival sex, they trade to survive and are at high risk to be trafficked," Mark Elam, with Oklahomans Against Trafficking Humans, said. "How do we know when they disappear? This will help us get information to law enforcement and they'll know who they are, where they came from and how to get them back."
Child Safety Inc's card and service costs about $100 a year.
If you want to get their alerts whenever a child goes missing, for free, text the word MISSING to 90210. Then, you will be one more set of eyes looking for that child at a time when every moment counts.