RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Thursday, the North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission hosted its annual training and events in Raleigh.

The conference will bring awareness, education, and training to the state for human trafficking. According to data by the national hotline for human trafficking—there were 260 cases in the state of North Carolina in 2020. Click here for that data.

Thanks to funding from the legislators—this is the first time the group has come back together since the start of COVID-19 pandemic.

Human trafficking is the second largest criminal organization in the world, according to NCHTC commissioner Marc Nichols.

Nichols said this training is their way of slowing that problem down and putting a stop to it.

“It’s very serious because it overlaps a lot of the crime that you’re seeing today; rather it be drug related, or shootings, or homicides, they all have a nexus together,” Nichols told CBS 17.

Thursday’s conference was joined by many law enforcement agencies, first responders, and even non-profit organizations—who work hand and hand with victims. CBS 17 was able to speak with Thursday’s conference was joined by many law enforcement agencies, first responders, and even non-profit organizations—who work hand and hand with victims. CBS 17 was able to speak with Latiana Appleberry and Hope Lloyd, representatives from Survivors Network.

“It’s something we often call an invisible crime. It often can look like a relationship, really in most time, especially when we’re talking about domestic sex trafficking it looks a lot like a relationship,” Appleberry said.

“Events like these really help teams and organizations come together to collaborate efforts and their strengths to combat the situation at hand,” Lloyd explained.

Marc shared human trafficking is a problem that effects us all. And how suspects spot their victims.

“What’s an easy target for them would be individuals they can manipulate, that they see isolated, that they can approach and feel comfortable approaching. We are seeing a lot of families actually victimize their own children or family members; and sell them for either labor or sex,” Nichols said.

According to the Human Trafficking Hotline, there were 10,583 cases of human trafficking reported in 2020. It’s a problem that continues daily.

Mirella Beltram with Polaris maintains the calls from victims and shared how often they receive phone calls.

“We get an average of 180 to 200 signals a day; and this can be anywhere from phone calls, or web chat, SMS messages, online forms, or emails,” Beltram said.

If you want more information on the conference, which is open to the public, click here for the location and to register.