A report published on Wednesday by the Polaris anti-human trafficking organization reveals that instances of human trafficking in Texas increased by 18 percent in 2018. The document tracks data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline and the BeFree Textline.
Polaris notes that tipsters reported 804 cases of human trafficking in Texas during 2017. This is up from the 2016 total of 679 cases–an increase of 18 percent. Since Polaris began the operation of its National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2017, nearly 4,000 cases have been reported in the Lone Star State, spokesman Brandon Bouchard said in a statement to Breitbart Texas.
Texas ranked number two in reported human trafficking cases. California ranked first with nearly twice as many (1,304). The top 10 states were rounded out with Florida (604), Ohio (365), New York (333), Michigan (305), Georgia (276), North Carolina (220), Pennsylvania (199), and Nevada (198).
Sex trafficking cases (6,081) represent by far (71.3 percent), the majority of the human trafficking cases reported nationally. This is followed by labor trafficking (1,249), non-specific human trafficking (817), and sex and labor trafficking (377).
Polaris reported that 83 percent of the human trafficking cases involved women (7,067 cases), while men made up 13 percent (1,124 cases). The organization reported that “Gender Minorities” made up the 80 remaining cases.
The cases were split between adults (62 percent) and minors (38 percent).
In one case of labor trafficking, a woman named Maria reported:
Maria stopped by one of the houses she was having rehabbed to check in with the contractor hired to do the job. He wasn’t there. Instead, Maria found six men, sleeping on the floor in the barely habitable building. The men told her that the contractor had been recommended through an acquaintance. He picked them up out of state, drove them to the project and told them they were not allowed to leave the premises.
He would bring them food and water, as necessary. Sometimes he did, sometimes he didn’t, they reported. He never paid them. But when the men complained he told them he would call immigration immediately. They would be jailed first, then deported.
To prove he was serious he took a group of them out to the desert and left one of them there, in the middle of nowhere, with no food or money. So the men worked, 10 hour days, without breaks. They slept in the houses they were working on, with cardboard boxes to cover themselves at night. Some of the houses had electricity, some didn’t. Some had running water, some didn’t.
The State of Louisiana reported a massive increase in cases of human trafficking in 2017. The Louisiana Department of Children and Protective Services said juvenile human trafficking increased over the previous year by 77 percent in 2017. Overall human trafficking increased by 52 percent, Breitbart Texas reported.
Since 2016, the Office of the Texas Attorney General carried out a program to get truckers involved in reporting human trafficking along the state’s highways.
“Truckers are the eyes and ears of our Texas highways,” Attorney General Paxton told those gathered in San Antonio for the September 2016 announcement. “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.”
To help combat the human trafficking problem in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott awarded $260,000 in state law enforcement grants to establish a “Crimes Against Children” unit in the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, Breitbart Texas’ Merrill Hope reported.
Polaris is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery and restore freedom to survivors of human trafficking. The organization is funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and private donations. The group began operating the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2007 and has identified more than 40,000 cases of human smuggling.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Gab, and Facebook.