TULSA, Okla. — With close to 2,000 immigrant children in Oklahoma after illegally crossing the border, local law enforcement officials are warning people about scammers moving in to take advantage of the situation.
They're worried about people who will try to traffic those children, but they're also warning against scammers pretending to be groups fighting human trafficking.
Jason Weis has been fighting child sex trafficking in Oklahoma for close to a decade; most recently, he started the group The Demand Project last year.
"We fight it on all fronts: from prevention, prosecution, rescue and restoration. We work directly with victims and we work directly with law enforcement," he said.
But now there is a warning from the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office about people claiming to be involved with groups like his.
"Unfortunately, it doesn't surprise me," he said.
"These groups roll into town and they start claiming to be people that they're not. They'll claim to be groups that are helping to give these kids proper places to go or they're going to help feed them or clothe them," said Maj. Shannon Clark with the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.
But Clark said they're really lining their own pockets.
"In reality, all they're doing is preying on the warm-heartedness of the people that want to help," said Clark.
"We've never, ever gone door to door. It's a red flag for a lot of people," said Weis.
Weis said legitimate organizations like his have websites showing the work they've done to help our community. He said if anybody comes knocking, asking for donations, then a few questions will reveal holes in their story.
"How's that money going to be used? And how much of my donation that I'm giving is actually going to go to the actual fight and to the actual mission that you're here to ask me money for?" he said.
FOX23 found out the legitimate groups fighting human trafficking all have close relationships with law enforcement agencies. Officials said don't hand out any money to an organization unless you've confirmed with law enforcement they're legit or checked into the nonprofit status.