Bringing awareness to human trafficking in South Texas
January is human trafficking awareness month and local entities are creating specialized programs and training to bring heightened awareness to the crime affecting victims across the U.S.
"It's become a sad situation for the young people crossing the border," said Jim Wells County Sheriff Daniel Bueno. "Case in point, the young woman (we) found deceased off CR 319 this week. Parents will send children across the border hoping they will make it and the trauma that occurs in the process and once they get here to survive is unimaginable."
"There are massive amounts of wrong information being communicated south of the U.S. borders and young children are not mentally or emotionally prepared for crossing over," Bueno added. "If something does happen it takes an exceptionally long time to get the word out to family members and parents."
Senator John Cornyn passed a bill in Dec. 2021 to respond to the victims of human trafficking to provide relief from long-term financial harm. The bipartisan bill will ensure trafficking and debt bondage does not permanently damage victims finances
“Financial exploitation and forcing victims to work to pay off ‘debts’ are revolting facets of human trafficking,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This legislation will ensure that debt accrued while being trafficked cannot continue to damage victims’ financial reputation long after the abuse has ended.”
Anyone can join in the fight against human trafficking.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) invites faith and secular communities to support them this month in response to victims. A participation guide for Human Trafficking Prevention Month can be found on their website at https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/.
Learn the indicators of human trafficking on the TIP Office’s website or by taking the training. Human trafficking awareness training is available for individuals, businesses, first responders, law enforcement, educators, and federal employees, among others.
If you are in the United States and believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, call the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or report an emergency to law enforcement by calling 911.
Trafficking victims, whether or not U.S. citizens, are eligible for services and immigration assistance.