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Walk against human trafficking happening in Lawton

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -Raising awareness about human trafficking -- right here in Lawton. And for the first time, the city will take part in an annual Walk for Freedom -- reminding everyone that human trafficking can happen no matter where you life.

One local mom tells us her 10-year-old daughter was caught up a situation that could have led to human trafficking.

Stella Maxwell told me today her daughter kept getting random calls from different phone numbers in 2016. One day a friend encouraged her daughter to text one of them. And, Maxwell says if she hadn't been paying attention and gone through her phone, her daughter may not be here.

"I was hurt," said Maxwell. "I was shocked. I was scared because my daughter is now involved in a scene I don't want to see."

Stella Maxwell makes it a habit to check her daughters phone every night before bed. About a year ago, she found disturbing and inappropriate texts from a stranger.

"Immediately, I contacted the Lawton police department and gave them all of the information I had," said Maxwell. "Then, I started texting back with this gentleman and he wanted me or my daughter to come to Las Vegas to meet him and after awhile I exposed the situation and of course he immediately stopped texting and calling."

Sergeant Stephanie Crawford with the Lawton Police Department says situations like these often leading to human trafficking happen all the time in our community. She encourages teens not to put your personal information on social media because it automatically puts a target on your back. And she says parents like Maxwell did exactly the right thing

"Parents, be involved in your kids lives," said Crawford. "Pay attention to everything they are doing. Always check their cell phones. Check their computers to see who they're talking to. Know where they're going and who they're going with."

Maxwell says her the incident involving her daughter was a major wake up call. She talked to her about it and educated her on what could have happened if she kept talking to the stranger. She hopes others will do the same with their children, not to scare them, but to teach them and spread awareness on human trafficking in southwest Oklahoma.

"Some people think it's just a small town here," said Maxwell. "No, we can make a big difference."

If you would like to participate in the A21 Walk for Freedom Against Human Trafficking, it will be on October 14th, from 2 to 4 at Elmer Thomas Park. It's free for everyone, but donations are accepted. The money raised at the walk will go to human trafficking survivors that are rescued all over the world.
You can register at
http://www.a21.org/shop-event.php?intid=1557

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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