Category: Texas

Statewide anti-human trafficking campaign launches in Tyler

The campaign called “Can You See Me?” includes a series of billboards depicting scenarios of the most common forms of human trafficking in the U.S. They are displayed in public spaces and transportation hubs across Texas to equip the public to recognize indicators and report suspicious behavior to dedicated hotline numbers.

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Reflection Ministries prepares to open village for human trafficking victims

Reflection Ministries of Texas is set to open “The Village” – a set of homes that will house victims of human trafficking – at the beginning of next year. Lisa Bownds, founder of Reflection Ministries, said they have several acres of land with five cottages. Four of the cottages will be used for housing and the last cottage will be a multi-purpose building used for counseling, therapeutic services and training classes.

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New Boutique Opens Solely for Sex Trafficking Survivors

What was once a construction trailer in Austin, Texas is now a special clothing store for certain child sex trafficking survivors. It opened on Wednesday at the Refuge Ranch, run by The Refuge for Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST). The ranch is the largest long-term residential treatment facility for child sex trafficked girls, aged 11-19 years old.

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Sex trafficking victim sues Houston hotels

A young woman out of Houston, Texas, was 15 years old when she was lured by sex traffickers. She’s suing three Houston hotels who at the time, in 2016 and 2017 when the allegations occurred, operated as Candlewood Suites, Clarion Inn and Suites – Westchase and Red Roof Inn. The young woman also claims she was even solicited by the guy working the front desk at the Clarion.

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Texas Man Charged With Child Trafficking After 15-Year-Old Girl Forced to Work off Smuggling Debt

Texas man Cesar Valdez-Perez, 36, faces charges of child trafficking and forging government documents. Valdez-Perez forced a 15-year-old Guatemalan girl to work at a restaurant to pay off a $10,000 debt for her being smuggled into the United States. The suspect pretended to be the victim’s father providing restaurant staff with forged citizenship documentation.

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Human trafficking survivor shares her story to create awareness about modern-day slavery

Maria Perez of San Antonio, TX was 25 when she fell victim to human trafficking. Perez said the man she was dating at the time suddenly changed and one night he kidnapped her—throwing her in the trunk of a car and driving across the border into Mexico. Perez is now a community activist, sharing her story and making it her mission to alert the community about the dangers that lurk around every corner in San Antonio and Texas.

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Suspected child predator in Stamford indicted after undercover operation

Russell Alan Baize, 63, of Stamford, TX was indicted Thursday for Online Solicitation of a Minor after an undercover operation targeting online child predators was conducted by the Abilene Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Baize was reportedly heavily active on social media, which was his primary platform for preying on minors.

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Dozens rescued, 37 arrested during undercover human trafficking bust: HCSO

Led by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in Houston, TX, the six-night operation began on July 29 and used undercover officers to rescue those being held against their will and connect them with resources to escape their abusers. The operation ended Aug. 3, when officers made contact with human trafficking victims and their traffickers. The victims were detained and taken to a fire department where a team of social service providers were waiting to help.

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Corsicana: Man sentenced in county’s first human-trafficking case

Corey Deshundon Henderson, 40 is convicted of selling a woman and a girl to men for sex over a nine-month period has been sentenced to 99 years in prison in the first human trafficking case to be tried in Navarro County, TX. Jurors heard evidence that Henderson would slap, punch and choke his victims when they told him that they didn’t want to participate. Henderson would also utilize drugs and withhold food to gain compliance,

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Della Lou Griffin, 53, of Bowie County, TX. llegedly arranged for a female relative to engage in sex with an adult. Griffin was allegedly paid by the man for sex with the girl, according to a probable cause affidavit

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Judge sentences Quitman man to 15 years for child porn videos

Tyler, TX – A federal judge has sentenced a Quitman man to 15 years in prison in connection with an allegation he had an underage victim pose nude for videos. Daniel Wayne McCormick, 43, pleaded guilty to two federal charges of child exploitation in March. Judge Jeremy Kernodle handed down the sentence on Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Tyler.

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Local deputy awarded for dedication to fighting human trafficking

“The support of my administration and the strength of the Heart of Texas Human Trafficking Coalition is having an impact, not only in Central Texas, but throughout the state,” Det. Joseph Scaramucci told KWTX.
Scaramucci was the keynote speaker at the fundraising luncheon at the Austin Country Club in Austin, TX. Within one hour, the event raised more than $300,000.

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Meeting Professionals International Commits to Combat Child Sex Trafficking

Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the world’s largest meeting and event industry association, today announced the organization’s commitment to combat child sex trafficking through a partnership with ECPAT-USA. As part of a live stream on April 4, 2019, celebrating Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID), MPI will sign the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code) a travel and tourism industry-driven initiative that seeks to provide awareness, tools, and support to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.

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How to spot the signs of sex trafficking

Members of the public have more power than they realize to help spot and stop sex trafficking. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of trafficking victims are not kept in locked rooms or held without access to the outside world. Here are some things to look out for:

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Dallas sues to shut down 3 massage parlors accused of having prostitutes sleep in filthy rooms

City officials have shut down three northwest Dallas massage parlors they say employ women as prostitutes and have them sleep on mattresses on the floor, and four people suspected of human trafficking have been arrested. Last fall, undercover police officers said they were offered sex at each of the three parlors housed at 11309 Emerald Street: Jasmine, Passion X and Charming.

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State urging businesses to fight human trafficking

It’s been nearly three years since the legislature created a program called Texas Businesses Against Trafficking. The idea is to encourage businesses to adopt anti-trafficking policies and train their workers to spot victims. But right now, there are only six companies taking part across the state, including one in San Antonio. To get more companies on board, the state is now tweaking its rules for membership.

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Man accused of child sex abuse, child porn possession, human trafficking, pleads not guilty Monday

A New Boston, Texas, man entered pleas of not guilty Monday to charges of human trafficking, child pornography possession and sexual assault of a child. Robert Allen Smith, 34, appeared for arraignment Monday morning with Assistant Bowie County Public Defender Clayton Haas. After Haas entered the not guilty pleas, First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp asked 202nd District Judge John Tidwell to set the case for a jury trial in May.

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3 in Houston accused of sex trafficking of Fort Worth woman, reports say

Three Houston, TX. people were arrested in Houston on charges of sex trafficking after a woman from Fort Worth called her mother for help in December, saying she was being forced into prostitution, according to reports. When Kevin Winston asked her to become his prostitute, the woman resisted, but according to media reports Winston is accused of beating and forcing her into prostitution.

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Local group fighting to stop human trafficking near BCS

January is human trafficking awareness month. In Bryan, TX. a local group is looking to educate others about the growing trend. “The fact that some of the clients that I work with and some of the kiddos that I love are susceptible to this injustice makes me extremely passionate about it. It feels really close to home.”

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Twiss: Human trafficking exists locally

Capt. Carol Twiss was featured speaker at a recent meeting of the Hill Country Republican Club in Kerr County, TX. informing attendees on “Human Trafficking,” its definition and what everyday citizens can look for in their neighborhoods and hometowns.

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When a sex-trafficking victim was forced into a jail cell near her pimps, we learned something about modern slavery

An inexcusable screw-up by U.S. marshals in federal court in Fort Worth could have tanked a case against three pimps who — let’s call it what it is — enslaved an underage girl through threats and manipulation. In a circumstance that seems all but unthinkable, the victim, under arrest for her own alleged crimes, was placed in a holding cell adjacent to the very men she was supposed to take the stand against.

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Texas Matters: A Grim Look At Sex Trafficking

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There are more than 300-thousand victims of human trafficking in Texas including almost 80 thousand minors and youth victims. That’s according to a study by the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault at the University of Texas. Human sex trafficking is a multibillion dollar business that has made use of the open internet for marketing and recruiting of victims. This is a look at how sex is sold online – how there are efforts to shut down those online sites – and how the traffickers adapt.

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Houston man sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for trafficking children for commercial sex

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston, TX. and the United Kingdom Border Force.
Jason Daniel Gandy, 41, received the 30-year sentence following his July 23 conviction on four counts of sex trafficking minors, one count of transporting minors, one count of sexually exploiting a child, and one count of transporting child pornography.

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2 Henderson men held on human trafficking charges; officials expect more arrests

Two Henderson men are being held in the County Jail of Rusk County, Texas on human trafficking charges, and officials say they expect more arrests in the case. Davis, 28, arrested at the scene is being held on three counts of aggravated sexual assault, two counts of human trafficking along with forcing a 26 year old women to have sex with a 12-year-old boy.

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Students combat human trafficking through International Justice Mission

International studies senior Hannah Robinson is the A&M’s IJM chapter president. Involved in the fight against human trafficking since seventh grade, Robinson has witnessed human trafficking numbers rise, making the issue more prevalent than ever. “It’s just really important that we keep this issue very highlighted so that we can hopefully come and solve this issue that’s going on,” Robinson said. “The more people that we get to look out for people who might be going through human trafficking, the better and we can get our representatives involved and [advocate for legislation] that will combat human trafficking around the world.”

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THS Student Council raises awareness of human trafficking

Temple High School senior Madeleine Ruth Norman appealed to the school’s faculty and staff to keep an eye out for victims of human trafficking in a special presentation Thursday. “Texas trafficks about 300,000 people a year,” she said. “Texas is the No. 2 state for human trafficking, second only to California. Houston is the No. 1 city for trafficking in America.” Norman said that trafficked people are often the victims of an intimate partner, a relative, or someone posing as a benefactor or offering a job.
“The methods of recruitment for sex trafficking … the ones that are more prominent to middle school/high school students, if you look you’ll notice that they’re kind of all related to this vulnerability that I was talking about,” she said.

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75 arrests made in Human Trafficking Sting

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA) and law enforcement partners from across our region, conducted a Human Trafficking/prostitution and “John” sting from October 15th to October 30th, 2018. Detectives and agents from multiple agencies along with Non- Government Organizations (NGOs) worked in an undercover capacity posing as “Johns” and “Prostitutes.”

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Dallas-area violent pimp sentenced to life in federal for sex trafficking minors

This sentenced was announced by U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox, Northern District of Texas. This investigation was conducted by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Shreveport (Louisiana) Police Department; and the FBI.

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Leader of ‘large-scale’ sex-trafficking ring arrested in Fort Worth; 15 women rescued

Fifteen women were rescued from a human trafficking ring earlier this week in Dallas, Texas. Investigation began after a report of prostitution and possible human trafficking happening at the house. Lead suspect found to be a part of illegally prostituting women for profit in multiple cities. Police suspect he controlled and manipulated more than a hundred women.

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VR USED IN SCHOOL TO FIGHT SEX TRAFFICKING

Radical Empathy Education Foundation (REEV), a nonprofit organization fighting sex trafficking, uses virtual reality to educate kids. REEV will run a pilot of their VR child safety program at the McCallum High School in Austin Independent School District, Texas.

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