TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Nearly 25 million people around the world have their freedom denied through human trafficking, according to the most recent Trafficking in Persons Report.
Human trafficking comes in many forms from sexual exploitation, forced labor and is often referred to as modern day slavery.
Cynthia Magallanes runs a bridal store, Free Ever After, that helps women recover from human trafficking. She mentors human trafficking survivors and is a survivor herself.
"The majority of the time, the trafficker will be someone they know, someone who has groomed them to exploit them," Magallanes said.
She said it’s important to understand trafficking can happen in plain sight without people recognizing it.
"It's a very small percentage of kids that are being abducted or trafficked that are because of an abduction," Magallanes said. "We tend to see more cases of being groomed into trafficking."
Marissa Hernandez, the public information officer of the Pima County Sheriff's Department said they haven't recieved any reports of human trafficking so far this year or any in 2019.
However, the department is still doing all it can and recently increased its precense in rural areas by adding 10 deputies to work in those communities.
"Those have a close proximity to the border and we know that people are likely to be both smuggled and trafficked at the border," Hernandez.
She suspects the department may have seen fewer reports due to children not being in the classroom.
"School is not in session and we rely on those mandatory reporters like teachers and things like that to tell us if they see a child that is in danger or maybe a victim to trafficking," she said.
There are red flags that everyone in the community can look for to help identify a victim.
“Them having expensive items in their position that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford, lots of cash, running away, being truant from school,” Hernandez said. “Things like that they need to watch out for.”