AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday proclaimed January as Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the state of Texas.
“The heinous crime of human trafficking is not confined to some remote country; it is happening right here, and even children have become commodities for the pleasure of sexual predators and the profit of traffickers," Abbott said. “The State of Texas will not tolerate the inhumane practices carried out by coercive and manipulative criminals. We provide serious penalties for human traffickers, and we continuously look for ways to better serve the victims.”
In Texas more than 300,000 people are victims of human trafficking, according to a study by the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault at The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work. About 79,000 of those are young Texans being sold for sex.
In Bastrop County, The Refuge for Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking is working to bring those numbers down. They are currently building a refuge ranch in for survivors of sex trafficking. The refuge will be able to house nearly 50 residents and will offer a school, therapy and counseling.
What to do if you think someone is being trafficked
The Texas attorney general lists steps anyone can take to report human trafficking:
If the situation is an emergency or you believe someone is in immediate danger, call 911. Tell them you think it may be human trafficking situation so that it can be routed to the proper investigators. Follow that call with a call to the National Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888 or report online at Report@PolarisProject.org.
Include actionable information, names, descriptions of what you saw, heard, when and where. If vehicles are involved try to include license plate numbers or makes, models and colors.
Call as soon as possible after you make the observations. The fresher the information, the more likely law enforcement can take action.
Don’t intervene yourself. Traffickers can be dangerous. Allow law enforcement to respond.
Call the Department of Public Safety. They have victim advocates who specialize in human trafficking stationed across the state. Department of Public Safety Victim Service Counselors
Call Child Protective Services if a child is involved. Tell them you have concerns for trafficking during your intake call or online report. 1-800-252-5400. Texas Abuse Hotline Login
Call the Office of the Attorney General, Human Trafficking Prosecutor at 512-463-1646 or email at email@example.com.