A Catholic church in Frisco is hosting a child trafficking awareness event on Sunday evening to educate community members about the prevalence of the issue and how to protect kids from becoming victims.
The “Not One More Victim” anti-child trafficking workshop will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Frisco. The event starts at 7:30 p.m.
“The goal of this event is to share valuable information from Educators, Law Enforcement, State Legislators, and Victim Service Organizations to empower children and families of the Parish Community to protect themselves, their families, and their friends and neighbors from the dangers posed by those who would traffic humans,” the church wrote about the event on its website.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Texas is a major human trafficking hub, trailing only California for the most trafficking cases of any U.S. state, with some 1,702 documented victims in 2021, per Wisevoter.
“In partnership with Partners Against Child Trafficking and the Underground NC, this workshop will empower youth (13+ recommended), their parents, and other concerned adults with tools to help combat this global epidemic. We can all do our part to raise awareness and help stop this $150 billion industry,” the church added.
Several instances of child trafficking have occurred around the metroplex in recent months, prompting warnings from officials about the dangers posed to kids.
“Human trafficking has been a target for law enforcement and prosecutors across the state of Texas because it can be deadly for our most vulnerable: our children. Trafficking adds an additional element of power for child abusers: the physical removal of a child from a safe environment for the specific purpose of violating their innocence,” said Ann Montgomery, district attorney of Ellis County, following the recent sentencing of a Las Vegas man who trafficked and sexually assaulted a minor in North Texas, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
A two-day operation led by Fort Worth police’s human trafficking unit led to the apprehension of Keith Sentmore, who was charged with sex trafficking minors and evading arrest back in September.
Human trafficking cases are typically separated into two categories: sex trafficking and labor trafficking.
According to Htcourts.org, which maintains information on human trafficking shelters and anti-trafficking organizations, “[t]he Dallas-Fort Worth region accounts for 35% of the state’s commercial sexual exploitation cases even though they only have 26% of the state’s entire population.”
In Dallas, there have been 46 reported incidents of human trafficking as of November 3, a 31.4% year-over-year increase from the 35 incidents logged in the same period in 2022, according to the City of Dallas crime victim demographics dashboard. The median victim age is currently 17. The youngest victim was 11.
The Dallas Police Department has been short-staffed for some time now, fielding fewer than 3,200 police officers when a City analysis recommends roughly 4,000. The effects of the shortage are quite apparent in Downtown Dallas, which has much higher crime rates than Fort Worth’s downtown area. The latter is reportedly patrolled by a designated neighborhood police unit that collaborates with private security guards.
Sunday’s event at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church will run from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The church is located at 8000 Eldorado Pkwy in Frisco.