SALISBURY, N.C. -- Incidents involving child sex trafficking have been creeping up in Rowan County. Now, a new task force has been formed to try to get ahead of the problem and educate people on how to spot and help victims.

We don't know how bad it is but we know it is there, said Renee Bradshaw.

She is with the Family Crisis Council and is one of the new members of the task force called Project Fight Rowan.

The task force will work to try to identify and help victims of sex trafficking that wind up in Rowan County.

Task force member Beth Moore explained why Rowan County was experiencing a growth in the problem.

When victims are taken in big cities, where's the first place they are going to go to get them off the grid? These smaller communities. So, it is huge that we address the issue here.

The task force will work with local law enforcement agencies, said task force member Dr. Jim Duncan.

We are creating programs to go into police departments and educate our law enforcement, he said.

Lt. Joshua Morse from the Salvation Army, who is also on the new task force, said the group would also focus on local kids so they would know how to spot potential sex trafficking recruiters.

Our plan right now is by the end of the year to get into every single school, especially the middle schools because they are the most targeted right now.

Fueling the problem is big money. Sex trafficking of children is now estimated to be a $32 billion a year industry.

The first full meeting of the task force will be next month.
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