Human trafficking is taken very seriously in Texas, a state that experiences a large amount of trafficking due to its long border with Mexico.
Recently, a man from Dallas who was accused of pimping out a teenage runaway was jailed in New Braunfels after a traffic stop resulted in his arrest.
A report in the Dallas Morning News said 30-year-old Roderick Tasby was charged with human trafficking and drug offenses.
The report said police stopped Tasby for speeding along Interstate 35. The officer who made the stop reported smelling marijuana smoke inside his Chevrolet Impala.
Tasby’s 14-year-old passenger was reported to be listed as a runaway out of Dallas. She had several escort ads posted online, the Dallas Morning News report stated.
The report said police suspect Tasby was selling the teen girl for sex in San Antonio, Austin and across the border in Louisiana.
The teenager was reunited with her family and was reported to be receiving assistance from victim services agencies.
Tasby is in the Comal County Jail in lieu of more than $300,000 bail.
The Extent of Sex Trafficking in Texas
Texas has high levels of human trafficking and sex trafficking, crimes that are often dealt with at a federal level and can cross state lines.
An announcement in 2016 that Texas sought to bolster its enforcement of sex trafficking laws gives an indication of the scale of the problem.
In January 2016, Texas set up the Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime unit to deal with trafficking offenses. It comprises three attorneys, a forensic accountant, a victims’ advocate and five investigators.
Attorney General Ken Paxton said the extra resources were intended to be targeted at a horrendous crime.
The city of Houston reported the most sex trafficking cases in the country in 2015.
In that year, 214 cases of human trafficking were reported in Texas. Of these, 165 involved sex trafficking. The Polaris Project, a group that works to end trafficking, estimated the real figure was over 330.
Some border areas are also hot spots of human trafficking. For instance, Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley, is one of the most prolific corridors for human trafficking and drug trafficking in the United States.
Stricter sex trafficking laws were brought in six years ago in Texas. Trafficking children became a first degree felony punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison.
If you are charged with this serious crime, it’s important to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Dallas.