The Lone Star State is seeking Texans’ assistance in the fight against human trafficking.
Gov. Greg Abbott has proclaimed January as Human Trafficking Prevention Month in Texas to promote awareness and advocate measures to decrease the crime’s prevalence.
“While we have made great progress in our fight against human trafficking, we must still come together to educate and help prevent others from falling victim to this horrific crime. This month, and every month, I encourage all Texans to educate themselves about the dangers and signs of human trafficking and how to support survivors,” said Abbott in a press release.
To help bring to light the hidden nature of human trafficking and increase awareness about its pervasiveness, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has organized various events aimed at educating people about human trafficking.
These events include the Wear Blue Day campaign, which encourages people of all ages to wear blue on January 11 to raise awareness about human trafficking.
DFPS asks that participants take photos of themselves wearing blue and share them on social media with the hashtag #WearBlueDay, tagging @TexasDFPS. Contributors may also email their photos to [email protected].
“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain labor or commercial sex. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries around the world. This serious crime is not just a problem in other countries — it is also happening in the United States in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Human trafficking is a hidden crime as victims rarely come forward to seek help because of language barriers, fear of the traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement,” states DFPS in its “Light The Way: End Human Trafficking” participation guide.
The Lunch and Learn Series are webinars DFPS is hosting in January to help advocate against human trafficking. This series will provide an opportunity for people to learn more about human trafficking and how they can help prevent it as they learn from experts from across the country. All are welcome.
From the Street for the Street: A Lived Experience Lens with human trafficking survivor Rachel D. Fischer was the first installment in the series, which was held on January 4. The Lunch and Learn Series’ full schedule is on the DFPS Human Trafficking Prevention Month’s page.
DFPS has released a guide for the year 2024 that provides resources and ideas for individuals who want to take a stand against human trafficking. If you suspect any instances of human trafficking, please reach out to iWatchTexas at 844-643-2251 or visit www.iWatchTx.org.
For any victim of human trafficking who requires services, please get in touch with the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888. If there is an emergency that involves human trafficking, please dial 911.
Recently in Dallas, the family of a trafficked girl who went missing from a Dallas Mavericks game lambasted District Attorney John Cruezot’s office for not bringing those responsible to justice, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. The teen was rescued from sex traffickers in a hotel in Oklahoma City 10 days after her disappearance in 2022.
So far in 2024, there have not been any reported incidents of human trafficking logged in Dallas’ crime analytics dashboard. In 2023, however, a total of 60 human trafficking incidents were clocked, marking a 15.4% increase over the previous year. The increase has played out against the backdrop of a significant officer shortage at the Dallas Police Department. The department currently only fields around 3,000 officers when a City analysis advises some 4,000 are needed to properly maintain public safety.