Human Trafficking – Sex Trafficking in Texas; does it matter what we want to call it? No, it does not matter how we want to describe it, but this along with crimes against children are maybe two of the most contemptible and despicable crimes we have nowadays. It is hard to come up with a suitable description in our English language. It is an ongoing problem in the United States and especially Texas. In 2016 there were more than 7,600 cases of human trafficking reported nationwide, and Texas reported 665 instances; second only to California. In 2017 the number of cases reported in Texas dropped to 433.
According to the FBI, there are nearly 18,000 victims of child sex trafficking every year with runaways being at higher risk. The FBI states that one out of every four runaways will be approached by someone to traffic them within 48 hours. The future is very dismal for individuals who are victims of human trafficking, and in most cases, exploitation can lead to death. Another statistic that should give concern to everyone is within five years of being trafficked; a minor will likely encounter essential health problems, some so severe it may lead to death. Human trafficking is the third largest global crime industry, following illegal drugs and arms trafficking, creating about $32 billion every year.
I am sure many drivers have seen or heard about how truck drivers can play a significant role in preventing a lot of this. After twenty-seven years of driving, I have seen my share of young prostitutes (lot lizards) in trucks stops in the nation and especially in Texas. Things have probably changed since I quit driving in 2015, but I can remember south Dallas was the place to go for female companionship and it was well-known throughout the United States. California and Texas with their proximity to Mexico and major north-south interstates going through them are ideal for the criminals to smuggle drugs, children, arms and prostitutes into the U.S. With some respectable, alert, and reputable truck drivers we can at least slow this down and maybe even stop it.
Every year there are several stories reported about Human Trafficking in Texas. In June this year, the Dallas Morning News Editorial wrote a story about a raid on a home on Morris St. in West Dallas. A problem that is all too prevalent in our city and one that is overlooked way too much. The house with fortified doors was a prison for women who were abducted, locked up, beaten, raped, and drugged, then forced to perform sex acts for money. The house was a hub for sex slavery.
For about three years women were locked in a 672 square foot home, with cameras to monitor their every move and one of the traffickers slept by the front door with a weapon to discourage escape. Had it not been for the courage of a passing ice cream vendor who stopped to help a woman who was fleeing for freedom, this house could still be in operation. Two accused traffickers, Desmond Kintwana Bethany, and Bailey Jane Hance were arrested for conspiring to engage in sex trafficking.
In September 2018 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had this report about a large scale prostitution organization operating the North Texas region. Fifteen women were rescued from a human-trafficking ring after an aggravated assault was investigated at a house on Marcell Avenue in Dallas. After the assault report, the Dallas Police Department said they received a tip that detailed prostitution and possible human trafficking at the house.
The police later identified the head as Tremont Blakemore, 39; he was thought to be the leader of a large-scale prostitution group operating in the North Texas region. Blakemore and this group have been tied to prostitution activity in many cities in Texas and throughout the nation. The victims came from several states including Maine, Wyoming, and Montana.
Dallas police, with SWAT and several other area police units executed search warrants for the following houses associated with Blakemore:
- 12405 Yellow Wood Drive, Fort Worth
- 4529 Marcell Ave. Dallas
- 1786 Overlook Drive, Lancaster
Eleven women were discovered at the house on Yellow Wood Drive, with four additional women found at the Overlook Drive house.
Two boys ages two and nine months were also removed from the Yellow Wood Drive home.
Lancaster, TX is a suburb of Dallas and is the location of numerous truck stops in the south Dallas area. Think about this drivers next time you invite one of these women into your vehicle; Why make an individual such as this rich? There is probably no doubt he had a pretty good drug operation going at the same time.
In September 2018 19 persons were arrested on federal drug trafficking charges in an alleged Central Texas methamphetamine ring based in Waco, TX. An indictment charges each defendant with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
In July 2018, 38 people were charged with possession of firearms and narcotics. Authorities began investigating this drug ring in 2014 and involved a drug-trafficking operation that moved meth and heroin to Wichita Falls from Dallas.
Drug trafficking from Mexico to Texas has been an increasing problem for many years, due to the ease of crossing the border. Millions of dollars of the most popular drugs are produced and transported from Mexico to the U.S. by way of Texas. Often trucks are used in the transportation of these drugs after a border agent has been bribed to let the vehicle pass through.
The following is a list of the primary land trafficking routes from Mexico to Texas:
- Ciudad Juarez to El Paso
- Ojinageo to Presidio
- Ciudad Acuna to Del Rio
- Piedras Negras to Eagle Pass
- Nuevo Laredo to Laredo
- Reynosa to McAllen
- Matamoros to Brownsville
Drug traffickers are getting better at concealing their actions and are more difficult to spot. A recent report about border agents finding more than $7 million in liquid meth inside a pickup gas tank is just one example. All of you running up and down our highways night and day have more than likely seen all types of drivers, and my guess is you know when someone is acting suspiciously. Maybe not when they are driving, but how do they respond when in a store getting gas or in a restaurant ordering a meal? Perhaps it is hard to get a response from law enforcement, but we could slow all this down somewhat if we reported some of these strange acting individuals.
What I talked about earlier; one out of four runaways is approached within 48 hours by a human trafficker and what is the first things that twisted abductor does? In most case, it is to get them addicted to drugs. Once a person becomes addicted, especially to opioids or heroin, the next step is to figure a way to make money and what is the easiest way for a young woman or man to make money? At a truck stop selling their soul. I know this sounds harsh but it is a fact and we have truck drivers in our industry, from overseas in which that culture does not look down on sex with male minors; and in fact, they think it is perfectly acceptable!
My thoughts are why does a man want to jeopardize his life, his career, or his future by purchasing sex or drugs. Once again, a minor will encounter significant health problems within five years of being trafficked and do you really know that the drugs you are purchasing are of genuine quality? Think about it drivers; you have no way of knowing how old that girl is walking across the parking lot, or the torture her parents are going through knowing she is out on the streets.
Report Human Trafficking
I know many drivers are hesitant to report signs of human trafficking. Many like I was thought it is not as severe as it is; would rather keep to themselves and out of someone else’s business. In some cases, this is a good idea as most traffickers are some of the most violent criminals we have. Truck drivers are in the ideal position to help with this problem and should stand up and help as much as possible. Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery that is trapping thousands into a life of forced commercial sex and abuse. Information from American Trucker and they also report that this is a big business, fueling a $150 billion a year global criminal market.
Here are some red flags they talk about that truckers should be aware of:
Any minor who appears to be engaged in the commercial sex trade
Brags about making much money
Anybody who seems to be under the control of a pimp, regardless of the person’s age or gender
Signs of branding or tattooing of the trafficker’s name, often on the neck
Indications of other abuse or drug addiction
Signs of physical damage such as burn marks, bruises, or cuts
Shows signs of gang affiliation (specific colors, gang symbols)
Here are some of the organizations involved that a driver can report incidents of Human trafficking:
National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888 – the hotline is staffed 24/7 with trained operators who can relay information to local law enforcement.
Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) established in 2009 provides a training program for truckers, designed for truckers and truck-stop employees on how to spot human traffickers. The program is free, available online; you can access it here truckers against trafficking video as well as more information on Human Trafficking.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – 1-800-843-5678
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 1-866-347-2423 (U.S. and Canada)
Moreover, there is always your 911 calls for local police.
Many especially our younger drivers probably do not give much thought to this problem, many like I was when I was driving wanted to get on with their jobs and be left alone. Unless there is a way to stop the demand for drugs and sex and the opportunity for the criminals to make more money than the average worker, this will never end. As long as people are oppressed in their countries and are not given a chance to make a living, they will continue to search for a better life in our nation.
When we have husbands and wives willing to sell their children for drugs, it makes one wonder how debased our society can get. When we have mental perverts ready to abduct children to barter for sex, it makes one wonder how wicked our nation can be.
Our government’s inability to agree on a viable immigration policy contributes to these problems as well as truck drivers promoting this behavior and allowing these women into their trucks. I urge all of to do your part to slow this criminal activity, if not stop it. Some organization where you can research more, join up with, or donate to are:
- Truckers Against Trafficking
- Stop Child Trafficking Now
- The Arizona League to End Regional Trafficking (ALERT)
Most know this website operates through our affiliates such as Amazon, DAT Truckers Edge, Gazelle and others that are listed above under Specials. Fifty percent of what we earn, we donate to an organization such as Truckers Against Trafficking. I believe this something well worth giving to and an issue that needs to be kept at the forefront of the problems we face in our industry.
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