MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Shelby County is one of the top counties for human trafficking in the country, and advocates understand thinking outside the box can certainly help drive that number down.
An event this weekend at the FedEx Institute of Technology aimed to use the technological knowledge of kids to help combat the problem.
Students and coders from local middle schools and high schools tackled a real-world challenge as part of the annual Code Crew Hackathon.
"The challenge is actual down-to-earth logistics around human trafficking and we're hopeful that the kids feel empowered through this experience to make a difference in the community," said Executive Director Meka Egwuekwe.
About 70 students are competing in this hackathon, but they said it doesn't stop here. They're hoping to bring the skills they learn with them into the future.
Some students were new to coding, while others like sixth grader Justin Chatman already learned the basics. He said it started as a curiosity when playing his favorite video games.
"I kinda knew it had to come from somewhere," Chatman said.
He's already thinking about starting a career with his own video game production company and said they've been told it's never too early to make your own path.
"I want kids to know we can do what adults can do," Chatman said.
Organizers said the group welcomes all youth to join, learn, and give back.
If we believe in a more prosperous Memphis and it's going to fulfill its potential, we must convince these kids," Egwuekwe said.