CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A former victim of child sex trafficking warns parents your kids can fall victim to sex traffickers right here at home.
Holly Austin Smith says people often view child sex trafficking as a problem overseas, but says it happens in local communities.
The survivor of child trafficking is bravely telling her story so families, police and community leaders can work to stop it.
Smith said she fell victim at the age of 14 after meeting a man at a New Jersey mall. She warns traffickers target kids who are vulnerable.
"All young teens are vulnerable, but the more vulnerable they are, the more they can be convinced to leave home for a better life," Smith said. "They can fall victim if they are being bullied, if they are struggling with grades, if they can't keep up with school."
Prevention and victim services are Smith's goals, and she is working with organizations such as the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center in Charleston.