What is  human trafficking?

Human trafficking is modern day slavery. It’s the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, with an estimated 20-36 million victims worldwide. Simply put, human trafficking is any time a person is forced, tricked or manipulated into providing labor or sexual service for someone else’s financial gain. Or, anytime a child is involved in a commercial sex act, whether or not there is someone directly forcing them to do so.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (2000) defines severe human trafficking as --

Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age: or

(B) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of insubjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.

Is human trafficking really a problem in Central Texas?

Yes, coalition partners have been serving human trafficking cases for years, with an increase in investigations and prosecutions over the past two years.

  • 433 cases of trafficking in Texas reported to the National Trafficking Hotline in 2015

  • More than 40 trafficking survivors served in the Heart of Texas in 2015

  • 83 trafficking investigations by local law enforcement in 2015

  • More than 200 sex trafficking “buyers” arrested since 2014 in McLennan County

  • Four trafficking cases prosecuted in 2015 (with many more pending)

Our community’s location on the I-35 corridor gives perpetrators easy access to both Dallas and Houston, which are rated two of the top estimated trafficking cities in the United States. Poverty and homelessness, especially among youth, make many of our neighbors vulnerable to traffickers.