Central Texas comes together to prevent human trafficking in Bel - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Central Texas comes together to prevent human trafficking in Bell County

Local organizations that are fighting human trafficking, are now forming action teams, to improve their odds of cutting into the lucrative business.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Texas has the second highest rate for people being forced into sex or labor slavery. California took the first spot on that same list.

Since 2014, research shows that Bell County has seen almost 50 underage human trafficking victims. That's why fighting the problem at the local level is so important to human trafficking prevention organizations. Program Director Kathy Ylostalo for the Ark Foundation said developing action teams is a way to prevent these crimes from happening in Bell County.

"I found that there have been several busts in the Killeen, Bell county area -- before it gets any worse we want to make sure that we are making our area less hospitable to traffickers", Ylostalo said.

Experts say one reason Bell County is a hot spot for human trafficking is its location right on Interstate 35.

People looking to join these action teams to help combat this violence are encouraged to email Kathy Ylostalo at ark2freedom@gmail.com.

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