Human trafficking is a significant, but hard to spot problem in Houston – and across Texas. Houston is known as a hub for human trafficking, which involves young women brought here for prostitution because of our proximity to the Mexican border. One fourth of all trafficking victims rescued in the United States are found in Texas, mostly in Houston (McCall). In the year 2011 alone, there have been a number of arrests for Human Trafficking made in the Houston area as well as several brothels have been closed down. However, FBI reports at least two new brothels open monthly in Houston (Palmer). There are a number of ways to fight human trafficking including educating yourself, spreading the word, taking a look in your own community, talking to kids and teens and becoming involved in groups to combat human trafficking.
The definition of human trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation (Rome). Some of the major forms of human trafficking are forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, debt bondage, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, child soldiers, and child sex trafficking (U.S. Department of State). Another way to explain human trafficking is to say that it is equivalent to modern day slavery. The problem is not limited to the Houston area, although Houston is considered a main trafficking hub city and a major destination.
The victims of sex trafficking can be women or men, girls or boys, but most are women and girls. Some of the most common used patterns to lure victims into sex trafficking are promises of a good job in another country, a false marriage proposal turned into a bondage situation, being sold into sex trade by parents, husbands, boyfriends and being kidnapped by traffickers. Traffickers are easily able to get aliens across the border without documents, making it one of the biggest points of illegal entry into the United States. There are three main factors contributing to trafficking in Houston: Proximity, demographics, and a large migrant labor force. Houston’s proximity to the border and I-10, along with its port, makes it a popular point of entry for international trafficking (Palmer).
Human trafficking affects our children and our schools more than most realize. It is estimated that more than 200,000 American children are trafficked each year in America. Victims of trafficking often come from vulnerable populations, including migrants, oppressed or marginalized groups, runaways or displaced persons, and the poor (Talati). The children most likely to be targeted by traffickers are those not living with their parents, who...