EL PASO, Texas -

A new initiative dedicated to ending human trafficking is launching operations in the Borderland. 

The Paso del Norte Center of Hope has begun providing shelter, legal assistance and other services needed by victims of modern day slavery.

"The majority of the victims we work with have been identified as sex trafficking victims and by that they're being forced into prostitution," said the Center's Executive Director, John Martin.  

The Center will hold a get acquainted fundraiser from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Monday night at Italian's Restaurant at 5380 N. Mesa in West El Paso.  Original artwork will be auctioned.

Martin said more than 27 million people worldwide are victim to some form of slavery.   "A strong majority of those have been identified as women," Martin said.

In addition to providing services to victims, the Center's mission statement says it aims to "lead anti-trafficking efforts within the region through outreach, education and victim-centered services."