Houston and the Growing Human Trafficking Problem
Labor and Sex Trafficking Continues To Spread in Houston
According to Can You See Me? human trafficking is the fastest-growing crime in the world. Human trafficking can affect men, women, and children from any demographic or socioeconomic background. There are 25 million people enslaved worldwide, as reported by Global Estimates of Modern Slavery.
In Texas, the Attorney General estimates that there could be as many as 234,000 victims of labor trafficking in the state at any given time and that there are up to 79,000 minor and youth victims of sex trafficking.
Houston and El Paso have been identified as major human trafficking hubs. Houston Public Media reported on the growing problem acknowledged by Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. The number of human trafficking cases has more than doubled since the previous year. District Attorney Ogg announced that her office would be prioritizing prosecutions against human traffickers.
Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Human Trafficking
The pandemic also has advocates worried that vulnerable populations may be at a higher risk for exploitation. ABC 13 Eyewitness News recently reported on the increased risk. Advocates fear that because of the pandemic, victims are not being identified as quickly as they were before. Prior to the outbreak, advocates, teachers, and law enforcement agents could be in schools and on the streets, but now their access to susceptible people is limited.
Texas Taking Greater Measures to Fight Human Trafficking
In an effort to increase awareness about human trafficking and prevent the exploitation of further victims, the Attorney General formed the Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime Section (HTTOC). Additionally, with the passage of Senate Bill 72, the Attorney General established the Human Trafficking Prevention Coordinating Council, which is a collaborative effort between multiple agencies to end this devastating form of modern-day slavery.
Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner has stepped up efforts to combat the problem, including the development of the Anti-Human Trafficking Division. As discussed in the Houston Chronicle, a new ordinance in the city requires Houston-area hotel and motel employees to be trained to identify human trafficking and report it to law enforcement.
Fighting for Justice for Trafficking Victims
Human trafficking can have devastating consequences for victims. It can take years to overcome the psychological and emotional abuse that a person is put through when forced into labor or sexually exploited. Too often, victims are not compensated for their losses. Despite needing counseling or medical treatment, they are left without justice.
If you or a loved one has been sexually exploited or forced into labor, call the office of Fibich, Leebron, Copeland, & Briggs today at (713) 999-3681. We will treat you with dignity and respect, always advocating to get you the largest recovery available in your case.
Tragically, the criminal conviction of a trafficker may do little to provide restitution for a victim. Our experienced attorneys can help you get the justice and the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today to speak with a compassionate, dedicated lawyer. Let us be your voice and your champion.
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