WACO, TX — McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara wants all to know something about human trafficking: it can happen to anyone. The sheriff said his office has two new ways to help prevent this growing problem from threatening Central Texas.
"Ultimately, it's about exploiting people. So, it's all about money, so it's total exploitation. It's nothing but trying to get rich off the backs of other people," explained Joe Scaramucci a human trafficking investigator for the McLennan County Sheriff's Office.
A former marine, Joe Scaramucci became the sheriff's first human trafficking investigator a few years ago.
He hit the ground running, helping stage several high-profile busts which resulted from internet communication, undercover work, surveillance and tips.
"I would say the problem isn't necessarily bigger here than it is anywhere else," he said. "We just tend to approach it more aggressively, I think, and kind of seek them out more than anything."
"We're fighting such a fierce battle against these traffickers and these low-life pimps," explained McNamara.
The sheriff's newest weapon is a new telephone tip-line and a web page allowing anonymous reporting of human trafficking cases.
"The sheriff's office is reaching out to the public for help. We want to stop as much of this as we possibly can," said McNamara.
He believes more eyes and ears on the issue will bring more tips, more raids, and more prosecutions. "We're asking the public, help us, help the victims," said McNamara.
Sheriff McNamara explained in human trafficking, no single group has protection from this growing problem.
"There's no stereotype. It's all races, all colors, all ages, every demographic is vulnerable in some ways, that we do see exploitation of many different people," Scaramucci explained.
This is why McNamara and Scaramucci want to stop it in Central Texas.
"It may have gone on in another state, it may have gone on in another country, but I'd like to think that when you make it to Waco, Texas, it ends," Scaramucci said.
The Anonymous Human Trafficking Reporting website has already proven its worth in just one week in operation. Scaramucci said he's already received one tip worth following up on.
You can find the Anonymous Human Trafficking Reporting website by clicking here .