NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Mahoning County Public Health held a special training session Friday IN Niles about a growing problem — human trafficking.

The training was led by Teresa Merriweather, of Lorain County, who is a survivor of human trafficking and now helps to rescue others.

Merriweather wanted to share with those who interact with potential victims, such as teachers, those in public health and the justice system, interactors of human trafficking and the long-term effects on the mental health of the victim.

“A Lot of reasons why human trafficking is not brought forth as far as the awareness is because there’s a lack of awareness. People think it’s only happening in other countries and it’s not happening here. It’s happening right here,” Merriweather said.

She encourages everyone to be aware of their surroundings and speak up if they suspect something is wrong

The training was held in Niles at Rust City Church on Youngstown-Warren Raod.

Ohio is one of the leading states in the nation for human trafficking, according to Mahoning County Public Health. Trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar criminal industry, and it’s estimated that there are between 20-40 million people in modern slavery today around the world, the most in recorded history.