MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A group working to raise awareness about human tracking in the Memphis area held its inaugural run-walk Saturday.

Human trafficking is a serious problem in West Tennessee and across the United States. The Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley estimates that at least ten thousand people are working as forced laborers at any one time in the United States.

“It’s happening on our streets in our communities and in our neighborhoods,” Coasy Hale, the Executive Director of Operations Restore Corps said.

Masked men taking a child and shipping them overseas like in movies and TV often hide the reality of many trafficking crimes.

Restore Corps, an organization working to eradicate human trafficking held its inaugural “Free 901, 5 and 10 K” to raise both awareness and funds for the fight against human trafficking in West Tennessee.

“They don’t have to cross the border, they don’t have to be from another nation. they don’t even have to leave their house,” Rachel Haaga, Executive Director at Restore Corps. “It’s important because everyone can do something to participate in the fight weather it is running and raising money. Whether it is volunteering and driving somebody to court, whether it’s organizing a donation closet, it is something for everybody to do.” 

Participants are running to win the race against human trafficking.

“Many times it is your neighbors people you use every day but they keep things behind closed doors and we really need to be aware of our surroundings. Talk to our neighbors, ask questions,” Kenniece Bennett from Munford, TN told us.

“I couldn’t imagine that happening to my family, my daughter whenever I have one, or my sister. I have a sister. all that type of stuff is just not cool not flying with me. And that is why I came out here and ran,” Chris Walls from Memphis said.

The Executive Directors of Restore Corps said someone with their organization is always available to educate the public about the true reality of human trafficking.

“We can come out to your group your church, whatever it is your school environment, to talk to you to help raise that awareness,”

Tennessee is ranked number one in the nation for the states’ anti-trafficking laws. In the last year. Restore Corps has helped over 170 human trafficking victims.