How do Texas authorities define human trafficking?

The Office of the Attorney General of Texas (AGT) describes human trafficking as a type of slavery. It involves children, women and men being forced to work or perform sex acts for someone else’s financial gain.

Data published by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin in 2016 showed that there were 234,000 victims of labor trafficking in Texas then. There were approximately 79,000 minor sex trafficking victims.

The AGT notes that there are four primary types of human trafficking.

Any individual who lures a child under the age of 18 into the commercial sex trade may be charged with child sex trafficking. Anyone who uses coercion, fraud or force to get an adult to work as a prostitute, at a massage parlor, a brothel or a strip club may be changed with adult sex trafficking.

No one should be defrauded, coerced or forced into working in the manufacturing, hospitality, agriculture or in housekeeping no matter whether they’re a minor or an adult. Anyone who places someone in such a role against their will may be charged with child or adult labor trafficking.

Officials generally urge people to look for signs of human trafficking, including evidence that someone works long hours, has a schedule that’s controlled by someone else or lives at their job site. If an individual has a persistent untreated illness or pain, is malnourished and has poor hygiene, that may also be considered a sign.

Anyone who has a limited ability to speak English, is paid on a limited basis or has limited access to their own identification paperwork may be suspected of being a trafficking victim.

Real human relationships take on many different forms. What you and another person may consent to may be suspicious to someone else. A consensual agreement could be misunderstood. However, human trafficking is taken very seriously by law enforcement agencies here in Edinburg and throughout Texas. Because of this, individuals who are accused of this crime should consult a human trafficking attorney who can put up an aggressive defense on their behalf.