DENVER (KDVR) — The U.S. State Department estimates more than 24 million people have been victim to human trafficking.
Twelve Denver area businesses were indicted in 2020 on charges involving trafficking at massage parlors.
A Denver woman is making it her mission to help parents keep kids safe even while putting herself in danger.
Katie Hilborn devotes her life to helping children in need through her Global Orphan Prevention organization.
“People are surprised to hear trafficking happens right here in Denver,” she said.
Hilborn bravely went undercover in India and Nepal, making a documentary designed to enlighten the world about the horrific circumstances of children forced to live and work in brothels.
“It is the most blatant, disgusting form of slavery that I have ever seen in modern times,” she said.
Hilborn describes a scene many would find difficult to believe.
“We’re seeing these young women hanging out of these barred windows looking down at us, they’re not allowed to leave,” she said.
Hilborn warns that one gateway to trafficking is the internet especially in the United States.
“They pose as a boyfriend, once they gain trust then it’s really easy to snatch them,” she said.
Hilborn advises parents to always be aware of what their child is doing online.
Cities with intersecting highways like Denver attract traffickers because they provide a quick way to get out of town.
Businesses like Uber are putting employees on alert to help fight against trafficking by training employees to report suspicious activity.
Uber’s Women’s Safety Policy Director Brittany Anthony tells FOX31, “predators use buses to move victims around, hotel rooms are integral in their operations survivors rely on services too sometimes to flee a dangerous situation.”
If you or someone you know needs help, access the Colorado Human Trafficking hotline.