Author and activist Holly Austin Smith, who as a child was forced into prostitution in Atlantic City, will speak Friday in Barrington, NJ. The event is sponsored by Dining for Dignity, a Collingswood-based group that fights human trafficking.

Smith, whose new book is  Walking Prey, will speak at 7 p.m. Friday (May 9) at GNFWC, 501 Commerce Drive, Barrington.

The appearance is particularly timely in light of the kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls, says Kelly Master, founder of Dining for Dignity.

"It is paramount to recognize that sex trafficking is occuring across the globe," she says. "Having been trafficked herself, Holly offers a depth of insight into the reality of sex trafficking in America."

Via email, Smith says the public too often thinks of human trafficking as a remote issue involving "other" people in faraway places.

"The fact is that traffickers look for vulnerability," she says, adding that children "can cross paths with a trafficker just by turning on their cell phone or computer. Children today are more vulnerable than I was in 1992."

--KEVIN RIORDAN