Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery in Texas

The average modern person can hardly believe that in the 21st century, people may still be enslaved, and human trafficking exists even in developed countries. However, the numbers and facts suggest the opposite: for instance, in several states of America, there are enough cases of human trafficking, the victims of which often suffer from forced labor or sexual exploitation. Despite all government attempts to stop this terrible phenomenon, people are still sold and bought like they are usual goods on the store shelves. This urgent issue is especially pervasive in Texas, where the prevalence of trafficking is measured with hundreds of thousands of victims annually.

There are several primary types of human trafficking that Texas law strives to stop or at least weaken. The first two types include the trafficking of adults and children under 18 for forced labor. According to a study carried out by UT Austin, in 2016, more than 230 000 people in Texas became victims of labor trafficking (Schoenemann). People are forced to work, primarily in agriculture and farms, beg, and make domestic work. The other significant types involve the trafficking of adults and children into a sex industry: 79 000 minors annually suffer from this kind of trafficking (Schoenemann). To date, “the traffickers are as skilled at evading the law as they are at finding new victims” (Davies). One of the leading researchers, Noel Busch-Armendariz, commented that “the numbers are alarming anytime we talk about the victimization of people exploited for the purposes of labor and sex” (qtd. in Schoenemann). Such regions of Texas as Greater Houston and Dallas are considered areas with the most considerable number of victims. Therefore, the prevalence of human trafficking in Texas is a prominent cause for concern.

Since human trafficking is so widespread, it is a focus of attention of the state, which aims to prevent it. The government of Texas passed several laws to contribute to fighting this problem. In 2009, one of these laws claimed the creation of a Task Force, including law enforcement agencies and non-government organizations, uniting their efforts to investigate the cases and prosecute the traffickers (Ordmandy). In 2016, the government formed the Human Trafficking Unit housed in the Attorney General’s Office, consisting of people with different professions, to fight this problem. Moreover, there is also the Governor’s Commission for Women, which has created several organizations striving to protect people from trafficking. With The Texas Department of Transportation, they launched the ‘On the Road to End Human Trafficking’ initiative, focusing their efforts on making humans more aware and not afraid to report any cases of trafficking (Ordmandy). Thus, the government tries to prevent human trafficking, forming corresponding agencies.

Although, in Texas, several organizations are fighting the trafficking, sometimes, it is not enough. It would be wrong to claim that the government’s policies are not effective. Due to existing agencies, it became possible to protect the most vulnerable groups of the population. On the other side, none of these organizations can solve this problem completely (Satija). Thousands of people are still trafficked every year in Texas. The government provides the agencies fighting trafficking with a budget and promises to increase it, but it cannot find money to pay for the victims or give financial support to them (Satija). Although they try to finance the organizations to prevent trafficking in general, they are not able to help a specific victim. Maybe they should focus more on concrete situations, which happened with a definite person since sometimes, it seems that they help such people only in word. Therefore, the government’s policies are not as effective as they could be.

Human trafficking is a severe burden of Texas: the number of its victims shows that the prevalence of trafficking should be promptly decreased. Although the government is not inactive for this urgent issue, sometimes, its actions are not enough. Human trafficking is a kind of modern slavery, widespread in different countries, which must be wholly extirpated in the world to protect people of all classes and positions.

Works Cited

Davies, David. “Human Trafficking in Texas: Sex Slavery in Our Own Backyard.” Texas Public Radio, 2018, Web.

Ordmandy, Ryan. “TxDOT Announces ‘On the Road to End Human Trafficking’ Initiative.” KTRE, 2019, Web.

Satija, Neena. “Texas Couldn’t Help This Sex-trafficked Teen, So Authorities Sent Her to Jail.” The Texas Tribune, 2017, Web.

Schoenemann, Courtney. “UT Study Shows 300K Human Trafficking Victims in Texas.” CBS Austin, 2017, Web.

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