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Students Take A Stand Against Human Trafficking

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MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) - Students in Collin County had Hollywood on their minds Wednesday night -- and with it an important message.

A public service project by a group of students led to a makeover of McKinney North High School's auditorium that looked like a film premiere. The glitzy feel drew more of a crowd than the average lecture about human trafficking.

The hope was teenagers would take an interest in meeting the people behind a movie that has a powerful message and warning for young people.

As president of her high school's public service group, Rachel Brehm has led efforts to collect donations for women's shelters and other projects, but the big issue she's tackling is human trafficking.

"Among my classmates it's not something that's talked about, and I really wanted to bring awareness to that subject because people are in the schools. They could be victims. They could be recruiters, and high school is the breeding ground for recruiters," Brehm said.

So when she found out about the movie "8 Days" that depicts child sex trafficking, her mission was set: she would hold a screening for her classmates.

"Bringing in this movie would be very powerful since it's the story about a girl who is just like us," Brehm said.

The North Texas-based group Traffick911 helps victims of child sex trafficking. The group estimates Collin County has nearly 3000 registered homeless children, and one out of every three street kids in the U.S. is likely to be approached by a trafficker within 48 hours of hitting the street.

Raising awareness is key, and Rachel's mom says it's essential for parents to talk to their children about the issue.

"I know it's a little bit nerve-wracking for parents 'cause a lot of parents don't like to even broach that subject, but if you send them out into the world without having any background at all, oh my gosh, anything can happen," Jennifer Brehm said.

But sometimes that message can fall on deaf ears. That's why Rachel hopes her peers will be more willing to listen to someone their own age.

"They just think it's not going to happen. It doesn't exist. It only happens in third world countries or in the movies. 03 00 but it's true, and it's real, and it does happen here," Rachel Brehm said.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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