Human trafficking is described by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as “one of the most heinous crimes” that it investigates.
It’s also big business in Texas. In a recent report, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center revealed Texas remained number two in the country in 2013 in terms of the number of calls placed to the hotline.
Of 39,945 calls made to the hotline last year, 2236 were from Texas. Many of those calls are likely to have come from the Dallas area. Overall calls increased by 55 percent year on year, with sex trafficking accounting for the most calls.
“It’s safe to say that a large number of those calls came from the North Texas region, as the Dallas-Fort Worth area traditionally has been a relative hotbed for human trafficking,” reported the Dallas Morning News.
The widespread nature of human trafficking in the Dallas area is linked to the fact strategic highways converge here as well as the area’s closeness to the Mexican border. California sees the highest amount of human trafficking activity.
The Dallas Morning News report stated Mosaic Family Services in Dallas, serves about 100 victims a year. In 2012, the national hotline received about 250 calls from the city of Dallas alone.
Human trafficking is a complex crime with many gray areas. ICE states on its website: “In its worst manifestation, human trafficking is akin to modern-day slavery. Victims pay to be illegally transported into the United States only to find themselves in the thrall of traffickers.”
ICE says victims are often forced into prostitution, involuntary labor and other forms of servitude to repay debts. “In certain cases, the victims are mere children. They find themselves surrounded by an unfamiliar culture and language without identification documents, fearing for their lives and the lives of their families.”
Human trafficking is a very serious federal crime that can lead to long prison terms for those who are accused of it. It’s important to hire a criminal defense attorney who has considerable experience in these complex federal investigations and has handled them across the nation, if you are charged with human trafficking.