Experts share advice on how to spot signs of human trafficking

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DENVER -- Human trafficking is considered by the Department of Homeland Security as a modern-day form of slavery. The multi-billion dollar enterprise is ranked as the world’s fastest growing crime.

Kristin Harness of the Extended Hands of Hope organization is a sex abuse survivor who helps children who fall victim to human trafficking. She says minors are in demand and can be sold for sex just about anywhere. Children can be recruited online, in schools and even churches.

Many find it hard to imagine this going on in Colorado. Harness says many think, "'How could something so ugly be happening all around us?' But the reality is: it is.'"

Women make up half of those found to be traffickers, with some parents even selling their own children to be used for sex.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers found the National Human Trafficking Hotline has received more than 2,000 calls from Colorado residents since 2007.

Harness warns regardless of the type of abuse, the scars are the same.

"It makes you lose all of your self worth," Harness said.

She tells FOX31 she wants parents to know the signs.

"If your daughter is coming home with an older boyfriend or is coming home late or has gifts, her nails done, her hair done... that can definitely be a red flag that your daughter might be being groomed by a trafficker," said Harness.

To report sex abuse or trafficking contact the Human Trafficking Hotline.

To support the Extended Hands of Hope organization, visit its website.

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