JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A statewide organization is helping protect victims of human trafficking.
Partners Against Human Trafficking is based in Little Rock and offers safe housing, medical exams and spiritual assistance to girls 18 and older.
A group in Jonesboro wants to bring PATH to its community.
Megan Brown and Audra King said Jonesboro's human trafficking case in May put this area on the map.
"People started to realize human trafficking happens right here," said Brown, the PATH northeast Arkansas area representative. "It happens so much more than people know here in Arkansas, here in the U.S."
Region 8 News broke the story May 5 that 28-year-old Amber Nicole Johnson of Wynne was accused of forcing two female relatives, ages 14 and 17, into performing sexual acts for money.
Brown and King said this just cannot happen.
Brown held a training session over the weekend to educate the community about human trafficking in Arkansas and what people can do to help.
They said the next step is forming a human trafficking taskforce for the city of Jonesboro, which would work with law enforcement and other local entities.
"PATH receives phone calls every day looking for a safe place to place a girl, a victim of trafficking," Brown said. "One girl. That's enough for me to know that it's happening here and something needs to be done about it."
"There's just not enough beds in general in the U.S.," King said. "Girls want to get out of what they're doing every day, but the sad thing is there's no where to place them. So they go back to what they know because it's means for survival."
Brown and King want to eventually open a safe house in Jonesboro for human trafficking victims.
Anyone interested in helping them raise awareness about human trafficking should visit the PATH website or email Brown at email@example.com.
As for the recent human trafficking case in Jonesboro, Johnson will appear in court for her first hearing Sept. 1.
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