TEXAS, USA —
In 2016, The University of Texas at Austin conducted a study based on statewide impacts of human trafficking. The study found there are approximately 313,000 victims of human trafficking in Texas and of those, 79,000 are children.
Also, within that same year, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton created a unit that focuses on human trafficking in the state.
For, the last four years, Assistant Attorney General Mallory Meyers Vincent said the state has trained and educated approximately 25,000 people on the topic of human trafficking, which includes both sex and labor trafficking.
Vincent said of the 25,000 people that were trained ranged from teachers, doctors and law enforcement.
Ballinger Police Chief Stanley Maresch said in 2019, one arrest was made in connection to sex trafficking involving a minor.
“It's terrifying, I know, the victim and the suspect, you know, weren’t even from this location, but with three highways coming through town. There always coming through,” Maresch said.
Alongside law enforcement agencies, victim advocates such as Jacquelyn Alutto, are dedicating their time and energy to helping and educating the public.
Alutto said parents need to take more control over monitoring their children's phones and social media accounts because predators can use the information as a ploy to gain access to minors.
“Go monitor your kids' social media, double check their accounts, make sure they have friends that you know, remind them not to accept friends or talk to anybody they don’t know. They disguise themselves as regular kids and they try to lure their children in,” she said.
Alutto is also an award-winning producer and director of the documentary, “Not in my Backyard,” and has helped the second largest precinct in the United States build an anti-trafficking task force.