Has this ever happened to you?

You're thumbing through your Facebook news feed and you come across a headline that stops you dead in your tracks; you read that headline out loud and the people around you gasp and shout, "what? are you kidding?"

That's exactly what happened when I read the following headline to my boyfriend, "Rockford Ranks #2 in the State for Human Trafficking."

It was followed by "I can't believe that's happening here." Call me naive, but I guess I'm in a little in disbelief myself.

According to Eyewitness News and the Rockford Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Rockford is currently ranked number 2 in the State of Illinois for human trafficking.

You're probably asking the same questions a lot of people are: Where, how and why is this happening right under our noses?

RAASE held an event this week to answer some of those questions, but for those of us who missed it, it's a complicated issue.

Those who are the most vulnerable, especially if they're in need of a means to take care of their family, can easily fall victim to human trafficking by being recruited, forced or coerced. It can even be a consensual arrangement at first, but it becomes non-consensual when a trafficker exploits them for labor, services or sex.

To learn more, contact the Rockford Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.