Human Trafficking

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From Texas Standard.

For eight years, in southwest Houston, a brothel operated out of a shabby apartment complex. Locals who knew about it didn’t speak up, fearful of retribution from the gang-affiliated family that police say was running the operation.

Undocumented women and girls, some as young as 14, were beaten, drugged, and lured with promises of restaurant jobs that never materialized. The FBI taketown targeted the operations of the Southwest Cholos gang, though this operation only hints at how much of a problem human sex trafficking has become in Texas’ biggest city.

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From Texas Standard:

Warning: this story contains descriptions that are disturbing.

Authorities in Mexico this weekend arrested two people they say were involved in a human trafficking operation. They rescued 24 young women who are from Colombia and Venezuela. This incident underscores how most of us understand human trafficking – as an international crime. But authorities in Texas are deepening their understanding of human trafficking as a local crime.

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From Texas Standard:

Activists gathered on the south steps of the Texas Capitol Wednesday morning to pressure lawmakers to keep fighting human trafficking during the 85th Legislative Session.

Advocates say there’s lots of work left to be done to curb trafficking. Now there are hard numbers to show by how much.

Texas Department of Public Safety

From Texas Standard:

For a while, we've known that human trafficking is a big problem in Texas. But a new study from D.C. advocacy group called the Polaris Project looked at nearly a decade's worth of data and found that much of human trafficking in Texas operates in illicit bars and cantinas.

My Lo Cook, director of Polaris' efforts in Mexico, says the cases in Houston center around cantinas, which researchers see as common venues for human trafficking in Southern California as well. Houston has more cases than other cities, Cook says, in part because local officials and organizations make the effort to link cases together and prosecute them.

 


Texas Department of Public Safety

From Texas Standard:

This story involves sensitive material that may upset some readers.

On Thursday Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will publicly announce the state's new human trafficking unit, with Kirsta Melton at the helm. Melton has been working on human trafficking cases since 2009.

She says she’ll never forget her first case, which involved a 13-year-old girl.

 


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