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Two-stadium tour targets Human Trafficking in West Alabama

Stoney Sharp reports.

Dr. Matthew Dunaway leads Praisefest Ministries, providing clean drinking water to people in need around the world.

It was the book Rescuing Hope: A Story of Sex Trafficking In America by Susan Norris that inspired his latest mission.

"I got some copies of her book. My daughter read the book. She was very compelled by it and wanted to help provide awareness," Dunaway said.

Dr. Dunaway has taken the message to 50 West Alabama schools, and has spoken with numerous churches.

"Sharing the story from the book," Dunaway explained. "Which is a story of a girl named Hope who got taken and used for human trafficking at the age of 14."

The Tuscaloosa Police Department confirmed sex trafficking occurs in the city. TPD said it has investigated two cases in two years. Three TPD officers are assigned to human trafficking.

"It's fluid. With the interstate coming through Tuscaloosa, we do have that crime in Tuscaloosa," Lt. Darren Beams with TPD said.

Officers attempt to lower the demand for victims, by searching online sex ads to catch the suspects.

"Once we can make contact with them, that's when we really have to dig to find out if there is trafficking going on," TPD Officer Dustin Burroughs added.

Dr. Dunaway has created a two-football stadium tour in Tuscaloosa County to help raise awareness and stop trafficking in Alabama.

The event is called Rescuing Hope West Alabama. Author Susan Norris and trafficking victims will share warning signs with parents and students.

The first RHWA event is 7 p.m. on April 25 at Tuscaloosa County High School stadium. The second RHWA assembly is at 7 p.m. on April 26 at Hillcrest High School Stadium.

Armbands for entry are on sale for $5 at all Tuscaloosa and Northport Taco Casa locations. Dunaway said 100% of the proceeds will support rescue and awareness efforts.

You can learn more about the two-stadium tour on RHWA's event page on Facebook.

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