A march to raise awareness of child sex trafficking is being planned for Saturday in Huntsville.
The “Save the Children” march is planned for the old courthouse mall in Huntsville. Participants will march with signs to call attention to the issue, which experts say is happening throughout Tennessee — including right here, in Scott County.
Kellie Walker, executive director of the Children’s Center of the Cumberlands, said in a Facebook post last week that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reported that human trafficking is the second fastest growing criminal industry in the state, behind drugs. She added that child human trafficking cases were investigated in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties, including Scott County.
“This isn’t new news to many of us, but (to) others it is,” she said.
The Children’s Center isn’t involved in Saturday’s event. But its organizers say they hope to turn attention to the plight of children — including those in Scott County — who are being exploited.
“Since the rise of this discussion on social media regarding human trafficking, a few of us got together and asked, ‘How can we move this further than just social media?’ And we came up with the idea for a march,” said Marie Roark. She’s one of the organizers behind Saturday’s effort, along with Courtney Emerson and Sandy Claiborne.
“Even in this small town, human and child trafficking is still happening,” Roark added. “So we plan on having information to hand out and hopefully resources where people can help stop this.”
Water and hot dogs will be provided on Saturday by Gotta Have It and Big O’s Muffler Shop. The organizers are also hoping to solicit donations for Operation Underground Railroad, which helps provide sanctuary and help to victims of human trafficking.