A large scale undercover operation resulted in the arrests of over 30 individuals in the Houston area related to human trafficking in Texas.
Law enforcement task for uncovers widespread problems in Harris County
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office enlisted the help of approximately 80 professionals from various law enforcement agencies to use during a five day long operation that ran during January of 2020. Undercover agents mostly talked to trafficking victims and attempted to obtain information that led to their pimps and other criminals. The main objective was to rescue the victims and prosecute the people responsible for the trafficking. After the victims were intercepted by the task force, they were turned over to services that would give them assistance with getting their normal lives back.
A total of 32 suspects were apprehended and arrested. Some of the suspects were as young as 17 years old. A total of 39 criminal cases were brought, including 22 for soliciting prostitution, 4 for compelling prostitution, and a number of weapon and drug possession charges.
No identities or any other specifics about any of the victims or suspects were released for the purposes of protection and privacy.
Taking legal action against illegal trafficking
People and businesses who are responsible for human trafficking or allowing the practice to take place on their properties may be subjected to various kinds of criminal and civil liability. Since 2003, federal law has allowed those who have been abused by traffickers to bring civil cases against them for compensation, even if the state already has separate criminal cases pending. The outcomes of the civil and criminal cases will usually not affect each other, as they are processed through different court systems.
While a criminal case is meant to punish the suspects through jail time and other conditions, a civil lawsuit will attempt to show that the defendant knew or should have known about illegal or reckless actions that harmed the plaintiff. The amount of compensation that is available is relative to the severity of harm that the plaintiff had to endure.
Who is most at risk?
Law enforcement has been concerned in recent years that illegal activities related to human trafficking may be more common than ever. A majority of the individuals who become victims of human trafficking are either homeless, struggling with drug addiction, recent immigrants, young females, and others who are lured away from their families by deceptive practices over the internet.
As the news report above shows, when someone is identified as a victim of this practice, there are extra steps taken to protect their identities and other personal information to prevent further harm.
Get help from a local attorney in Houston
There are lawyers who focus entirely on assisting local clients who need various kinds of legal advice and representation. To get in touch with a legal professional, contact:
5020 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX 77006