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Vulnerable Texas Children Are At Risk For Exploitation, Trafficking

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Sex traffickers are drawn to vulnerable kids. Young victims are often homeless or runaways, have previously been abused or neglected, or who have at some point been flagged by social service providers. 

The latest report from UT Austin's Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault highlights the experiences of individuals from Houston, Lubbock and the Texas-Mexico border region who survived being trafficked at a young age.

Eighty-three percent of responders who identify as sex trafficking victims said they have also experienced some other form of exploitation, like wage theft or abuse.

The investigation outlines the "life cycle" of exploitiation, factoring in vulnerabilities like individual and environmental circumstances, as well the exploiters themselves. Almost 50 percent of victims interviewed reported being forced to participate in commercial sex by a romantic partner. 

In what ways can family history or financial strain contribute to added risk and lack of stability for youth?

What are common signs of exploitation and what actions can you take to combat trafficking in your community? 

The National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1 (888) 373-7888. Text 233733 or visit humantraffickinghotline.org for more information.

Guests: 

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet at @TPRSource. 

This interview aired on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

Jan Ross Piedad is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.