Some cities have a much larger problem with human trafficking than others, due to their proximity to international borders and related crime.
Local news for Houston reported on an organization called Rescue and Restore Coalition that was teaching people how to find signs of human trafficking in mudane details.
Education about human trafficking is provided by organizations in Houston
Some not so obvious signs that can be seen around many cities include windows that are barred or blacked out on businesses, along with massage parlors who claim to be open 24 hours a day. The coalition holds bus tours where they teach people how to notice these signals at night. These annual events focus on making residents aware of forced labor and human trafficking that may be happening close by in their own communities. The tours do not attempt to intercept organizations that may be involved or make arrests, as they are educational only.
The project director said that Houston is one of America’s known hubs for human trafficking. By raising awareness, he hopes that more people will start to notice the signs they identify, and then report them to law enforcement or other authorities, who can begin their own investigations. There is a national human trafficking hotline that is available, and they claim to receive more calls about incidents in Texas than any other state. The Lone Star State makes up about 13% of all the national reports they receive.
The project defines human trafficking as any kind of forced labor or modern day slavery that only benefits a company or an individual, not the worker. Estimates show that only the drug and illegal arms trades are larger criminal enterprises globally. Many who study this problem believe that the large border Texas shares with Mexico is partially responsible for the state’s issues. Houston is specifically a hub city for trafficking due to Interstate 10’s corridor and the metro area’s spread out landscape, which creates law enforcement difficulties.
The organization coordinated the event with the Mayor’s office. Guests were allowed to ask questions following the 45 minute tour and see exhibits about the dangers of human trafficking.
Young people, especially girls, immigrants, sex workers, and travelers are some of the most common victims of human trafficking. These people are often involuntarily drugged and forced to work without compensation for years until they are found. The individuals and groups who are responsible are charged with several different crimes and served with lawsuits.
Speak with a local attorney in Houston
While the state files criminal charges for human trafficking, it may also be possible to file related civil lawsuits against the person or business responsible for violations such as false imprisonment or kidnapping. Some firms work with victims to help recover their financial losses. To get help, contact:
5020 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX 77006