Local parents and teens can learn the signs to protect children from human trafficking during a community awareness presentation on the issue Wednesday.

The St. Bernard’s Catholic Church Respect Life Committee has invited Debbie Johnson, the founder of Without Permission, to talk about the systematic methods and strategies criminals are using to entrap children.

Johnson formed Without Permission in Modesto to combat the growing trend of domestic human trafficking. The presentation is designed to help residents learn ways to stop sexual slavery.

“We realize that the whole human trafficking situation is a very strategic and calculated process,” said outreach person Cheryl Moses. “Most people don’t realize that.”

Moses, a Tracy resident, is a member of the Respect Life Committee which she said wants to educate the community and help them understand the danger signs.

“Most believe people being trafficked are being trafficked from out of the country,” Moses said. “Shouldn’t be such a secret. It’s a dark topic, and you have to realize it’s true and it’s actually happening in our town.”

The event is free and open to the community, including civic organizations, youth groups and church members. It will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Holy Family Center, 12100 Valpico Road. Coordinators recommend that no one younger than 13 years old attend due to the subject matter.

For more information, call 622-0156 or go to http://withoutpermission.org.

Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at drizzo@tracypress.com or 830-4225.

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