There are many misconceptions about human trafficking, but one misconception is that it's an international problem.
It's actually very common here in the United States and in Central New York.
The McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center has served more than 100 youth until age 21 who are human trafficking victims.
Staff says in most cases, victims have met their abusers in chatrooms and developed what they believe to be a relationship. They then be become emotionally, sexually or physically abused and used.
Often times drugs are involved.
"It can happen to anybody,” said Executive Director of McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center Colleen Merced. “A lot of our victims come from environments like that, but we have victims that come from stable homes as well. It can happen to anybody. A child with low self-esteem isn't because necessarily their families or their parents. It could just be for the way that person feels about themselves, so I think people need to recognize and realize it could happen to their own child. It could happen to their sister, their brother. we have a lot of young boys as well."
The McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center has a special task force to help victims of human trafficking and prevent it from happening.