PARIS, TX -- First responders, hospital staff and teachers in Paris today learned about the fastest-growing crime in the world, human trafficking.
According to Homeland Security, Texas is the second largest human trafficking state with over 600 girls under 18 trafficked across the state every month.
A group that raises awareness of child sex trafficking in America, Traffick 911, was in Paris today.
"What we want to do is expose them and bring to light a very hidden epidemic in our country." said Traffick 911's Executive Director Deena Graves.
Graves says most victims don't last long.
"Once they get one of these children under their control their average life expectancy is just seven years."
Graves says there is a common misconception of human trafficking and many are unaware of the growing issue in the U.S.
"People think that this has to be movement because of the word trafficking, but in reality its just our American children being forced into modern day slavery, it's sexual slavery of our children."
According to Graves, one-third of homeless and children living in poverty are used in sex trafficking, a statistic that shocked the Paris police officers, hospital staff and educators in attendance Tuesday.
"It's kind of a scary thing when you realize your youth and your young kids are exposed to such tragic things in our country, so it's horrible." said Paris Assistant Police Chief Randy Tuttle.
"You would think that if your ran across a child that was being used for sex trafficking that they would stand up and say help me and that's not the case. said Paris Regional Medical Emergency Director Doug LaMendola. "They are so mentally reprogrammed into submissiveness that they won't speak up."
Paris Police say they're considering working with Traffick 911 on more training for their officers.