KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Sex trafficking can happen anywhere. Most recently, in Blount County.
The TBI said officials arrested four men Friday on charges of trafficking minors and promoting prostitution.
Many of you commented on our article saying you thought you saw these men around the area, but didn't know how to identify them as sex traffickers.
"These are neighbors and boyfriends and sometimes family members who are trafficking individuals in our community," said Natalie Ivey, Director of Advocacy and Outreach for the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking.
She said many people witness trafficking without even realizing it.
"People remember students that they had in their class 30 years ago, or a patient that they had 15 years ago, and they'll come and talk to me after [training] and say you know I knew something was wrong. I knew something was off I just didn't know what to do," said Ivey.
If you see something that seems off, Ivey said to report it.
"The two most powerful things that our community can do is first to accept that it's happening here which is a difficult thing to do, then to pay attention to your surroundings," said Ivey.
The coalition is getting more referrals than ever before.
That doesn't mean there are more trafficking victims, but instead more people reporting the crime.
Ivey said one of the most noticeable signs of a trafficker and their victim is the way they interact in public.
"You might see kind of a weird behavioral dynamic between two individuals," she said. "So controlled speech or maybe one individual isn't able to speak on their own at all. Maybe one individual's not making eye contact."
Ivey said there's no one look for a potential trafficker. They try their best to blend in.
"We know them. We live next to them. We work with them. These are members of our community," said Ivey.
Look carefully. Watch body language. Don't hesitate to report something, but also don't intervene.
"The likelihood that you're gonna help someone is probably slim to none, but the likelihood that you could cause harm to yourself or someone else is pretty high," said Ivey.
If you believe you've seen or know a victim of human trafficking, report what you know to the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline.
That number is 1-855-55-TNHTH.