Human Trafficking in Texas

Human trafficking is recognized as a form of “modern-day slavery.” Kevin Bales from Free the Slaves says it involves controlling someone through violence, psychological coercion, economic exploitation, loss of free will and movement, and being “paid nothing beyond subsistence.” Who are the victims? Traffickers target males and females, adults and children. Victims can be trafficked domestically (in their own country) or internationally. For example, a young teen can be kidnapped in the United States and taken overseas for prostitution. Or, a youngster can be trafficked abroad and brought to the U.S. and forced into prostitution or another form of labor where the victim is a slave. Of course, this can happen to adults too.

Four Main Types of Trafficking

Texas law has divided human trafficking into four major types:

  1. Trafficking adult victims for the purpose of forced labor. Examples include food service, factory work, sales, and agricultural work.
  2. Trafficking adult victims for the sex trade. Such victims work in brothels, strip clubs, massage parlors, and engage in street and internet prostitution.
  3. Trafficking minors for forced labor.
  4. Trafficking minors for the sex trade. Under the law, a child is considered trafficked for sex, regardless if force, fraud or coercion were involved.

Protections for Child Prostitutes

If a child is under the age of 18 and they are working for someone else as a prostitute, they are considered a victim of sex trafficking, regardless if the child prostitute resisted or complied with the trafficker’s demands. Under the law, child sex trafficking does not require the use of force or coercion. Common ways children are recruited for sex trafficking:

  • Deception
  • Flattery and lies
  • A promise of love or romance
  • Promises of a glamourous lifestyle
  • Offers of a place to stay or cash
  • Offers of lavish gifts or luxury items
  • Providing food, shelter, and clothing
  • Making offers that are too good to be true

Who Are the Traffickers?

Traffickers vary widely. They can be friends, family, strip club owners and managers, intimate partners, neighbors, unscrupulous employers, international third party recruiters, organized criminals, gang members, and everything in between. Under Texas law, a victim does not have to be moved to be trafficked. For example, a mother can invite men into her home to have sex with her 13-year-old daughter without ever moving the child. In that case, the mother is trafficking her own child. Learn more about human trafficking on the Polaris Project website. Accused of human trafficking in Plano or Dallas? Contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC.

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