INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 2, 2015) – When you think about human trafficking, you don't think about it happening in Central Indiana.
But, it does.
The Special Agent in Charge with Indiana's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tells FOX59 he needs the public's help to rescue these victims, many of them children.
"These victims are extremely vulnerable. There is no one else to protect them," explained Special Agent in Charge W. Jay Abbott.
Abbott says investigating human trafficking here in the Hoosier state is a priority for his agents.
"It is a moving target. It`s hard to stop it. If we can rescue even one victim of human trafficking, it is worth it. I am proud to say we have," said Abbott.
For big events, like the Indianapolis 500, Abbott says FBI headquarters sends in extra agents.
"When the environment becomes conducive for human trafficking, we will get more resources at those times. We will bring in national assets from Washington DC," said Abbott.
The FBI in Indiana works alongside local law enforcement and with the State's Attorney General's Office to investigate human trafficking. According to the Attorney General's website, the average death of a person involved in prostitution is 34, and the most common cause of death is homicide. Furthermore, the average age which children are first used in commercial sex is 13.
"Indiana's Not Buying It" campaign with help from IndyCar driver Ed Carpenter and Colts player Matt Hasselback highlights the hidden problem of human trafficking in Indiana.
"It's time that criminals who purchase sex from children know that the secret is out," says IndyCar driver Ed Carpenter in the "Indiana's Not Buying It" campaign.
Abbott says online sex advertisements are watched closely by his agents. But, as always, if the public sees someone held against their will, he asks them to please speak up.
"The engagement and awareness of the public is key," reminded Abbott.