Posted: 10:40 p.m. MST
A Calexico group held a candlelight vigil Friday night in honor of human trafficking victims and to bring awareness to this problem. The group held signs and candles along busy Imperial Ave. in Calexico.
The group, Soroptimist International of Calexico, a women’s organization to improve the lives of women and girls, wants the public to know that modern-day slavery exists in the form of human trafficking.
"It's something that's happening in all the border, but now we need to look at it here because nothing is being done at all right now," said Marty Guillen, president of the organization.
They want the public to look out for the signs of someone being held against their will.
Human trafficking is a problem that people do not necessarily think about because the victims and the perpetrators live under the radar, said Calexico police chief Jim Neujahr, who spoke at the event.
Eighty percent of victims are women, and 50 percent are children, Neujahr added.
Organizers of the vigil say that in Calexico, victims may pass through as they are being trafficked because of our proximity to the border.
There are some signs the public can look out for. If someone is being controlled, is submissive, has bruises, is seen wearing the same clothes frequently and does not talk to people, these could be signs of a trafficking situation, Guillen said.
The goal of the event Friday was to make people aware and prompt them to react if they suspect human trafficking.
"It's one of these crimes that's kind of held in secrecy--Out of sight, out of mind. And we need to put some light on it and bring it out to get it stopped," Neujahr said.
If you know anything about a trafficking situation or suspect it, you can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.