Brooklyn Heights church hosts anti-human trafficking event

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A Brooklyn church hosted an event aimed to raise awareness about human trafficking Thursday.

Organizers of the event at Plymouth Church say the event was held to shine a spotlight on an industry that's often in the dark.

"To create such a strong education and awareness through the experts and survivors so we can begin or continue to do more in this area," said organizer Que English.

In the 1800s, Plymouth Church served as a safe haven for runaway slaves in their journey to freedom.

Experts at the event called human trafficking the modern day version of slavery.

"We're seeing an increase among traffic of children average age 11 and 15, No. 1 population being black and brown," says English.

Rachel Lloyd, the founder of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, says for years she was defining herself by her own trauma.

As a teen, she says she ended up under the control of a man who forced her into prostitution, taking her wages to run a business. Eventually, she turned her pain into purpose as she began speaking around the world as an expert on human trafficking.

For many, abuse comes in comes in different forms.

"I had witnessed domestic violence in my life when I was young," says public school teacher Marie Simon. "When I grew up I knew I wanted to do something about it."

Simon told News 12 she attended the event to learn the signs of abuse to help keep her students safe.

She says the only way to fight this problem is to face it.

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