Truckers Partner-Up with Texas AG to Fight Human Trafficking

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HOUSTON, Texas — Truckers have partnered-up with the Attorney General of Texas to fight human trafficking in the Lone Star State.

Texas is the second highest state in the nation for reports to the National Human Trafficking Resources Center and Houston, Texas, has the highest number of trafficking victims in the nation, according to a statement obtained from the Texas AG’s Office obtained by Breitbart Texas.

The Office of Texas Attorney General (OAG) announced on Thursday a new partnership with the Texas Trucking Association and the organization Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT). This coalition has been organized to combat human trafficking across the state of Texas. Truckers will be trained to help spot problems and notify authorities.

The website of the OAG describes the crime of human trafficking as nothing less than “modern day slavery.” Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves defines it as “a relationship in which one person is controlled by violence through violence, the threat of violence, or psychological coercion, has lost free will and free movement, is exploited economically, and paid nothing beyond subsistence.”

“Through this new partnership, we will help educate members of the trucking industry in Texas about the signs of human trafficking and how to report it,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton. “We will not tolerate those who exploit others for profit. We will continue to fight human traffickers and bring them to justice.”

Human trafficking is a crime that is distinct from smuggling related to illegal immigration and those who cross the border illegally. It can involve Americans trafficking another American within the United States.

The OAG website lists the four types of trafficking under Texas law:

  1. Trafficking of adults for forced labor, for instance in agriculture, food service, factory work or sales;
  2. Trafficking of adults for sex, in strip clubs, brothels, massage parlors, street or internet prostitution;
  3. Trafficking of children under the age of 18 for forced labor; and
  4. 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
  • peers
  • 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

Some of the warning signs that an adult or a child is being trafficked is listed on the OAG website.

This partnership will help combat the real problem in human trafficking in Texas by combining forces with an industry well-equipped to identify and report these crimes, according to a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas from the Office of the Attorney General.

If you believe someone is being trafficked, or 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.

You can also make a report by calling your local law enforcement office, 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).

You can learn more about the crime of human trafficking at the National Human Trafficking Resource Center website.

Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2