- Associated Press - Monday, February 3, 2014

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - Officials with Advocates for Freedom in Gulfport say the organization has rescued 105 victims in the state since it began in January 2011 and most of those have been on the Gulf Coast.

The youngest was 3 years old and the oldest was 64.

“One in five girls and one in 10 boys are abused every day. Over two-thirds of all children that go missing are never reported,” the group’s CEO Susie Harvill told The Sun Herald (https://bit.ly/1fEJ21z).

Pascagoula Police Chief Kenny Johnson said he used to see human trafficking as a problem only in third-world countries.

“The very real part of it is it happens to children and young girls and it happens right here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” he said.

Harvill said some of the cases she has seen are particularly horrifying.

Two cousins, 10- and 11-year-old boys from Hattiesburg, were taken to the Super Bowl in New Orleans in 2013 by a friend the family had known for 25 years. Harvill said the first night the boys were in the hotel, they were repeatedly raped by three men. When they returned home, the 10-year-old was hurt so badly he had to go to the hospital, which is when the parents found out what had happened.

“The boys are horrified,” she said. “They begged their mother not to tell anyone.”

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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