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#saveourchildren Tri-Cities: Children are not for sale

BY BRITTNEE NAVE
STAR CORRESPONDENT
“Children are not for sale.”
This is among the sayings displayed on signs displayed by a local group rallying against child sex trafficking on Aug. 22 in Elizabethton.
Other sayings included things like, “Real men don’t buy children” and “Break the silence.”
The #saveourchildren Tri-Cities, which was created earlier this month, aims to raise awareness on sex trafficking. 
The admin, Bridget Gray, a local stay-at-home mom, explained that the group was created as she became more aware of child sex trafficking over the past few months and grew concerned by the lack of coverage by major media outlets, as well as censorship by social media.  
“I decided that I wanted to make a change and hopefully be there for the kids and be their voice,” she said. “They don’t have a voice most of the time.”
For Gray, a big accomplishment from the rally on Saturday has been getting this message out there. 
“We want it to be more known,” Gray explained. “We’re making progress.”
Gray said that the rallies will continue weekly in Elizabethton to raise awareness. For those who want to get involved, Gray said people can join the group’s Facebook page for information and/or joining their rallies.
In addition to locally, #savethechildren movement has also skyrocketed into discussions and rallies nationally as well.
Sex trafficking is reportedly in every state and county, can happen to anyone, and is not always black and white. In many instances, those being trafficked know, and some are even related to their trafficker.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, here are some facts on human trafficking.
  • In the United States, on average, every two minutes, a child is bought or sold for sex.
  • The average age of a child sold for sex is 13 years old.
  • Human trafficking is the second-fastest growing criminal industry, just behind drug trafficking.
For more information on human trafficking statistics, go to https://polarisproject.org/ or https://www.tn.gov/tbi/crime-issues/crime-issues/human-trafficking.html. For training on the subject, which is free and open to anyone, go to www.growtnfree.org. Gray’s group can be found on Facebook to join. 
“Always stand up for what you believe in and always stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves,” said Gray.