WACO, TX — COVID-19 hasn't slowed the criminals' agendas when it comes to human trafficking. In fact, numbers are only getting worse.
"At least 20% of our national trafficking victims are coming through Texas at some point," explained Detective Joseph Scaramucci with the McLennan County Sheriff's Department.
Of course, the pandemic hasn't stopped law enforcement from working effortlessly to stop this horrible crime in Texas.
What some may not know is that human trafficking can happen right in front of your eyes and you wouldn't even notice.
"They [the predator] take them [the victim] to get their hair done. They take them to get their nails done. They take them to go by food," said Detective Charles Duchamp with the Beaumont Police Department.
Detecive Duchamp actually reached out to one of our own, Detective Joseph Scaramucci, to help change the narrative of human trafficking in his area.
"We did our operation, a large operation. It was two days, and Detective Scaramucci came down to assist us also with some logistics and technical advisories, and it was very beneficial," Detective Duchamp said.
Detective Scaramucci has been working hard for six years to rid human trafficking in McLennan County and throughout the state.
"Once you see it, you can't really turn your back to it again because you now know that it exists and there are people out there that need your help," Detective Scaramucci said.
Law enforcement is working hard no matter the day, but they rely on the community to help them with their daily work. Since it's the community out at grocery stores, coffee shops and hair salons, they'll be the first to see something off.
"It's hard to say certain things to look for. I just always tell people go with your gut, because there is a reason why your gut is telling you want it is," Detective Scaramucci said.
To be the change law enforcement is looking to you to help, so if you see something say something.
"Call, or at least see if you can get some information because a lot of times that's how we can make recoveries," Detective Duchamp said.
If you or someone you know is the victim of human trafficking, or you would like to report possible human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888. You can also text HELP or INFO to 233733. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.