The Source: Dealing With Human Trafficking In Texas
Human trafficking ensnares 20 million people and is a $150 billion criminal enterprise, and the United States isn't immune.
Last year there were more than 5,000 reported cases of sex or labor trafficking in the country and here in Texas in 2014 there were 452. But those numbers pale in comparison to the estimates. The Polaris Project says 100,000 children are trafficked for sex in a year, which is just one segment of one area of trafficking.
In order to better assess the needs, the Texas Slavery Mapping Project, a grant-funded, two-year study, wants to crack the nut of this underground economy and bring policymakers better numbers that lead to better strategies.
Bexar County has had 122 confirmed cases of child sex trafficking since 2009. Steadily rising in frequency, the county has created two programs aimed at helping victims of trafficking.
- Bruce Kellison, associate director of the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Texas Austin, co-principal investigator at the Texas Slavery Mapping Project
- John Moon, clinical therapist at the Mission Roads Center, a locked-down residential treatment programr County Juvenile Field Probation
- Judge Laura Parker, juvenile court judge in the 386th district court who oversees the "Restore Court" program