CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A study indicates that runaway teenage girls will encounter a human trafficker within 48 hours of their disappearance, while others are lured away from home by traffickers.
There have been five missing teen girls in the Charlotte area since late December and some are back home.
Hannah Arrowood said many girls who run away are deceived and some will be lured into human trafficking, and she helps rescues girls from that life.
"It's a very strategic game traffickers are playing with these young girls,” Arrowood said. “They play on their need to be loved and accepted, and they do it really well.”
Last year, there were 13 runaway teens reported in Cabarrus County, 80 in Rowan County and 32 in Union County.
There was a report in 2018 that said one in six would be involved in human trafficking.
Detective Sgt. April Samples is on a human trafficking task force established by the Cabarrus County district attorney’s office.
"We were seeing increased incidences of children being trafficked from this area,” Samples said.
She searches local hotels looking for missing teens.
"We'll have photos of them and compare those to ads online," Samples said.
They want parents to know trafficking is real and bad people are using any medium they can to find their prey.
Friday was National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
North Carolina ranks 10th for the most human trafficking in the country.
The Charlotte area is especially at risk because it's where interstates 77 and 85 meet, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport and the vast amount of entertainment venues.
Advocates said people need to be especially aware of next month's NBA All-Star Game.
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