Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton met with a group of truckers who are committed to help spot and report human trafficking on our nation’s highways. Law enforcement professionals and truck drivers working together has proven to be an effective tool to stop the trafficking and abuse of many young girls in this country.
“Truckers are the eyes and ears of our Texas highways,” Attorney General Paxton told those gathered in San Antonio on Thursday. “This partnership brings law enforcement and the trucking industry together, educating them on the signs of human trafficking and how to report it. It helps ensure that victims will be identified and rescued, and that traffickers will find themselves behind bars.”
Paxton first announced the program in March during a meeting in Houston, Breitbart Texas reported. Houston is the nation’s hub of human trafficking and has the highest number of reported trafficking cases, the AG stated. The meeting in San Antonio capped off a four city tour to bring attention to the seriousness of human trafficking and how truckers and other concerned individuals can help stop the problem.
Paxton’s office has conducted more than fifty training sessions statewide since the beginning of this year. More than 4,000 truck drivers and other Texans have been trained on what to look for when encountering potentially trafficked victims.
The OAG website lists the four types of trafficking under Texas law:
- Trafficking of adults for forced labor, for instance in agriculture, food service, factory work or sales;
- Trafficking of adults for sex, in strip clubs, brothels, massage parlors, street or internet prostitution;
- Trafficking of children under the age of 18 for forced labor; and
- Trafficking of children under the age of 18 for sex. An individual can be trafficked into any industry or type of work. Legally, someone is trafficked if force, fraud or coercion is applied to make the trafficked person work or if a child under the age of 18 is trafficked for sex by any means, regardless of whether the trafficker has to use force, fraud or coercion.
Traffickers cannot be identified by “one particular look.” They are individuals “who are willing to treat other people like objects or commodities that they can buy, sell or exploit for their own benefit.” According to the OAG, human traffickers can be:
- family, relatives
- international third party recruiters
- unscrupulous employers
- organized crime syndicates, cartels or gangs
- strip club owners/managers
- opportunistic criminals
- intimate partners
- neighbors and friends
- sex buyers who pay for children under the age of 18 or adults who are being forced to prostitute
The attorney general asks that if you see someone you suspect may be a trafficking victim, take action. Even if you are unsure if a crime is being committed, talk with the person privately if you can if you are able to do so in a circumstance that is non-threatening. If you believe that having such a conversation would be dangerous, make a call to the National Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. You can also text “Help” or “Info” to 233733. The Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Information can be reported anonymously to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), the OAG Human Trafficking Division (512-463-0950), or the Child Protective Services Hotline if a child is involved (1-800-252-5400).