Cheyenne, WY (KGWN) - Educators, counselors, and many others who work with children in Wyoming are in Cheyenne this week for the 5th Annual Wyoming Crimes Against Children conference.
The conference is helping, those who work with children, improve response and prevention of crimes against child victims.
"It could be anything from sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect," said Jamie Chavez, Senior PIO for Wyoming Division of Victims Services.
But there is one area that has become a hot topic of discussion.
"We have a lot of discussion around human trafficking because we're noticing the numbers," Chavez said.
Mike Gallagher is a police officer in Portland, Oregon. Portland has one of the worst trafficking problems in the country and he's become an expert on the subject.
"There's obvious signs and indicators that it is going on here in this town and we're here to help people recognize that and give than a better idea of what to do with that and how to help the victims," said Gallagher.
Sex trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. Much of the money is being made at the expense of girls in their early teens.
"Nationally the average age somebody gets involved in prostitution is 13 years old," Gallagher said.
Gallagher came to Cheyenne for this week's conference to educate those in attendance how they can work with law enforcement to help these victims and to teach them about the culture of sex trafficking.
"It is going on here. It's behind closed doors. It's at the motels. The pimps, the traffickers are bringing the women through town," said Gallagher.