27 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - If you think human trafficking is something that happens only in other countries, think again. It's happening to girls as young as 12 years old right here in our area.

FAIR Girls is a non-profit organization that helps victims of human trafficking to survive. Asia Graves of Northwest DC works for the organization, speaking out in high schools and telling her story. At age 16, she was bought, beaten, raped, choked and sold again. She's 24 today, a college student, an advocate and a true inspiration.

But her path wasn't easy. This college student, and now-women's right advocate has scars you can see, and many you can't. She says her hell started when she ran from her drug-addled mom and alcoholic dad, "The support I found was from young men as well as men who were actually pimps who told me they loved me. They were the father figure that I never had," she said.

She wants teenage girls as well as parents to know what she's been through and that there's help available. "They say that this doesn't happen in the United States, but I can tell you right now I work with this year alone, we've had about 75-80 girls so far from the D.C. metropolitan area," she said. Some are pimped out on Backpage.com.

On Wednesday night, FAIR Girls held an event to get the word out. Andrea Powell started the organization, "I just think no girl should be forgotten, and that's what we represent, opportunities and freedom for every girl."

Graves has this message for parents: "Everyone thinks that something like this can never happen to your child, but in our reality there are more people enslaved now, than during slavery, and a majority of them are young women and girls."

Read or Share this story: http://on.wusa9.com/1dUzDR7