Human trafficking is a crime that happens every day across our nation, including in the Lone Star State.
“What we're saying is about 10 times a day that they’re meeting with sex buyers and they’re being sexually assaulted,” said McLennan County Sheriff’s Office Detective Joe Scaramucci. “You have the trauma of sexual assault, within 10 days were in excess of 100 times.”
There are around 313,000 victims of human trafficking statewide at any given moment, according to a recent University of Texas study.
“Sometimes traffic victims look like they do appear to be willing participants, they are not. It really takes a village to get them out of that and provide sustainable income and provide housing,” said Detective Scaramucci.
Almost 79,000 of the victims are people 25 and under. Experts say they see a lot of homeless youth victims in our area.
“There were six, abating in sexual activities in exchange for basic needs. For food, for a place to lay their head for a night,” said Project HOPE Youth Advocate Coordinator Shandoline Williams.
With January being Human Trafficking and Slavery Prevention Month, experts say it’s important to help victims and others from falling into the cycle, like monitoring social media accounts.
“To knowing what’s going on Snapchat, Instagram or any mobile device your child has is really important,” said Detective Scaramucci.
Experts say it’s also important to have an open line of communication with victims, so they know they have someone to talk to. If you see something that looks suspicious, contact local law enforcement.
Local experts also encourage people and victims to reach out to organizations like the United Way if they need counseling or any sort of help with human trafficking.