A brief look into human trafficking in Rockford

ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR)--- The Rockford Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation has ranked Rockford as the No. 2 city in Illinois for human trafficking.

Human trafficking is an epidemic worldwide that even affects neighborhoods in Rockford.

There are several misconceptions when it comes to what is human trafficking. The reality is that it happens all around us.

"It's really hard to identify if I'm out and about, it's hard to spot it, it's hidden in plain sight," say board member Brittney Fry from RAASE.

Jennifer Cacciapaglia from the Mayor's Office of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking says the biggest problem is bringing more awareness to the community.

"Not only the community, parents, potential people who could be trafficked our young people are really the most vulnerable for this, our school districts so teachers are trained and understand what to look for," says Cacciapaglia.

Law enforcement is also making a shift by changing the way they address the problem.

"The women who were being prostituted by the traffickers were seen as the problem rather than the victims which now we realize clearly they are victims of human trafficking," says Lieutenant Kurt Whisenand from the Rockford police department.