TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Interstate 65 makes Tippecanoe County an ideal location for human trafficking. In 2017, there were nearly one hundred cases throughout the state. Purdue University is looking to decrease that number with an upcoming event this Valentine's Day.
Purdue students Sid Chowdhury and Kayla Rux are entering the competition.
"I know it goes on in Indiana and I know it's a serious topic but I don't know much more than that," said Rux. "So, I'm hoping from the event I learn much more."
"I'm probably going to read a bunch about it," added Chowdhury. "I'm going to look at stats and trends and look at solutions people have come up with."
However, it's not all about the students. Organizers want to include the whole community.
"What we really want to do at this point is just draw attention to the topic," said co-organizer Dr. Chad Laux.
"This isn't just happening in other countries, but it's happening in our own backyard," added other co-organizer Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar.
They hope more local community and business leaders will volunteer to mentor students during the competition.
"We've already spoken with the Lafayette Chief of Police, Chief Flannelly is going to be involved, he will be mentoring a team," said Spellar.
Chowdhury said he loves the concept of the event.
"Brainstorming for ideas and trying to come up with concepts and solutions has often led to really creative and not mainstream answers to questions" said Chowdhury.
He's looking at it as a networking opportunity but also a chance to actually help the problem.
"Because there will be people listening to this who can actually make change," said Chowdhury.
The event is officially called "Purdue's 150th Event on Mitigating Human Trafficking" and is sponsored by Purdue Polytechnic along with Discovery Park, Data Mine, and Purdue Peace Project.
It's free to the public and you can register online.
If you're interested in mentoring students or just attending the event on Feb 14, you can register here.