JUNCTION CITY, Ore. -- The third annual Human Trafficking Prevention Summit will be held in Junction City on Saturday, and Chief Bob Morris with Junction City police said they are working to raise awareness to the worldwide issue.
The department is hosting the event with Soroptimist International of Junction City and the National Women's Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation.
"Even today as you and I are talking, many people don't realize that it's occurring in Oregon, much less occurring in Junction City, and it is," Morris said.
The National Institute of Justice defines human trafficking as "the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means."
The International Labour Organization estimates there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally.
Before Morris was the police chief, he worked on the advisory board for the Oregon Missing Children Clearinghouse as well as projects with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
He said the people who present at these conferences are experts in their field. They have speakers from the FBI, the Marshal Service and different community organizations that deal with the epidemic.
"The people we really want to get in that room, the people we need to get in the room, are the parents and the kids, and if they're 8 years old and above, that's appropriate," Morris said.
Morris said they want to bring attention to the growing problem. They're hoping to teach parents the warning signs and give them real tools to intervene if they see those signs.
"Predators prey on that and look for those type of qualities so they can market that or leverage that to their benefit," Morris continued. "A lot of this occurs via the internet. One of the things we talk about at the symposium is safe internet use -- where is it safe to let your kids have a computer?"
He said one of the places parents shouldn't allow kids to have a computer is alone in their bedrooms.
He also said there are specific behaviors that a parent should look out for that leave their child vulnerable to becoming a target, like social isolation.
The summit will take place Saturday at the First Baptist Church of Junction City and will begin at 9 a.m.
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