CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- State lawmakers are pushing two bills to combat the growing problem of human trafficking in North Carolina.
"I think both of those are excellent tools to start the process," said Bo Quickel of Vigilante Trust.
Quickel's organization targets the johns, the men who pay for sexual services in hope of showing them the error of their ways.
"We realize the only way to end trafficking, is to make sure the demand for the services for those girls stop," Quickel said. "No longer is the consensual prostitution happening in our society, it's nonconsensual. So in effect, this consumer is paying the pimp or the trafficker to rape the girl."
Charlotte leads the state for human trafficking. Quickel says some of this is happening at adult massage parlors. HB 451 is currently working its way through the legislature. It would require massage parlors to be licensed, in an effort to go after shops that operate as fronts for sex crimes.
"A massage parlor is going to have two girls working there, they are going to be raped 10 or 15 times a day each day," he said. "They don't come in the morning and leave at night, they are locked in those places... I personally can't hear something like that and do nothing, I don't see how anybody could."
He says he has identified at least 60 adult massage parlors in Charlotte. His group does surveillance of these businesses to see if anything inappropriate is happening. Quickel says he was keeping an eye on It Works Salon at 6120 Brookshire, with CMPD's Vice squad also investigating the facility.
Officers say it was prostitution did occur on the premises and arrested Samantha Taylor for promoting prostitution for profits. However, they say in spite of Quickel's suspicious, it was not a human trafficking case.
Another bill under consideration by the General Assembly, would educate middle and high school students on the dangers of human trafficking. Quickel says young girls are less likely to be kidnapped. He says usually, they are lured and manipulated by adults on social media.
"It is more likely that a 19 or 24-year-old male is playing the role of a boyfriend to a 12 or 13-year-old girl on social media, as he is able to change her mind, manipulate her and pull her away from her family, she's the one that is more likely to be trafficked," he said.
"So to get in and educate these young ladies on how they can be manipulated is very important," Quickel added.
If these bills pass, Quickel says it is a good start. If you suspect human trafficking, you can contact police or the human trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
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