The El Paso based agency exists to support and protect the victims of human trafficking while leading anti - human trafficking efforts around the El Paso area.

Everyday ... in every country and city in the world ... men, women and children are being forced into slavery and/or the sex business. That's every country, including America and including El Paso.

El Paso offers easy access in and out of Mexico and I-10 is the most heavily traveled trafficking route in the USA.

Victims can be kidnapped but they are also often "given" to traffickers by loved ones or trusted individuals in exchange for money, drugs, or other things. It's a $150 billion dollar industry that's racked up 20.9 million victims so far.

68% of those victims are being forced to work, over half (55%) are female and 26% are kids. 1 in 6 young runaways will be trafficked and all these numbers continue to rise every year.

It took being asked by the Paso Del Norte Center Of Hope to host a fundraiser to make me aware of them and the work they do. Sadly, many others don't know about them either or understand how close to home this problem hits.

It happens right under our noses. The traffickers are quick and ruthless while the victims are too terrified to speak up. You've probably seen some, maybe even been tended to by one, and never even knew. Victims are forced into many, otherwise legit, businesses like:

Labor trafficking: construction, restaurants, cleaning, elder care, domestic service, agricultural work, nail salons, marriage -

Sex trafficking: strip clubs, bars, marriage, sex work, online sites, modeling agencies, massage parlors -

It's a "silent" crime which is why the Paso Del Norte Center Of Hope exists. To shed some light on this, let victims know there is a way out and educate the rest of us on what to look for and what to do if we suspect trafficking.

The stats are scary and hearing the first hand account of a victim of trafficking was heartbreaking. Please help the Paso Del Norte Center of Hope help others by donating whatever you can.

Money, clothing, food, goods or services, your time ... everything helps. You can donate here or, if you prefer, you can just go shopping. Items purchased at that shopping link are sent directly to the center which is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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