SAN ANTONIO — An area on the city's West Side is catching the attention of human trafficking experts.
Zip code area 78207 is considered a hot spot for child sex traffic crimes, according to Centro Seguro's newest specialist.
"It's very close to I-35, which goes from Canada to Mexico and I-10, which goes from [Pacific to Atlantic] oceans,” Chuck Paul, outreach specialist at Centro Seguro said.
A joint effort between Roy Maas Youth Alternatives and Bexar County Juvenile Probation, the 24-hour emergency shelter, says they've seen up to 180 children since opening last October. A total of 12 cases have been confirmed as sex trafficking victims.
To combat the troubling problem, Paul along with other community organizations plan to visit that area of the west side and other known hot spots to get young victims out, which is a first for the city.
"We want to go into these areas with of course law enforcement to find these people and get them out," said Paul.
Caretakers would then bring them into the shelter and perform a full work up to determine the underlying cause the teen is dealing with.
"Our cases are going to increase but that's okay."
Before Centro Seguro opened, the shelter expected to help 60 youths their first year. Already exceeding expectations, Paul projects cases to double, possibly triple with their outreach efforts.
However, he says it's worth it if it means more children get out of a bad situation and back on the right path.