Splendora police raise concerns over release of immigrants tied to smuggling investigation
Police in the Montgomery County town of Splendora are asking for better federal oversight of immigrants who are believed to have been smuggled into the United States. The concern comes after police said they recently had to release a group of immigrants they believe are in the country illegally.
Combatting human trafficking in Houston: University of St. Thomas president to announce collaboration with high school, college students
The University of St. Thomas announced an anti-trafficking collaboration with college and high school students in the communication department, according to a release.
Liquor license revoked for north Houston’s ‘Vegas Nite Club’ after evidence of human trafficking, TABC says
A north Houston bar’s liquor permit has been revoked after investigators from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s Special Investigations Unit discovered a suspected brothel operating inside.
41 arrested, including 5 pimps, in Fort Bend County human trafficking operations; 7 rescued, including juvenile, DA says
Nearly a dozen law enforcement agencies joined together in three sting operations across the Houston area, resulting in the arrest of 41 alleged perpetrators, including five pimps, and seven rescues - one being a juvenile, according to authorities.
4 Houston-area gang members accused of recruiting teens, forcing them to ‘engage in sex acts for money’, federal officials say
Four Houston-area gang members have been indicted on human trafficking charges in connection with the prostitution of young teens, the United States Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas said Tuesday.
Local nonprofit works with community leaders to educate families about child sex trafficking
They are amazing, beautiful and photogenic. They consist of leaders, advocates, law enforcement and some survivors who all assembled at a recent photoshoot in The Woodlands to draw attention to an ongoing problem in our community.
30 people arrested, 1 juvenile rescued during human trafficking sting in Fort Bend County
FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas – The Fort Bend County District Attorney announced Wednesday that dozens of people had been arrested during a multi-day sting called Operation Cupid. According to the county, the DA’s office, in collaboration with the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance and other agencies, took 30 people into custody and rescued one juvenile victim during the three-day operation. County officials said “johns” create a demand for human trafficking, so the county is “focused on saving victims by following basic economics; removing the demand will reduce the supply.”“The success of this operation shows that we have much more work to do if we are to eradicate trafficking from Fort Bend County,” said Fort Bend County District Attorney, Brian Middleton. “As I have said before, we will be relentless in our pursuit of those responsible for human trafficking, including those who create the demand for trafficking victims in this county.”AdClick through the gallery above to see mug shots of those who were arrested during the sting.
Stronger Houston: Efforts underway to end human trafficking
HOUSTON – January is human trafficking prevention month. There were 1,080 reported cases of human trafficking connected to Texas in 2019, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. What is human trafficking? As a child, she said she was a victim of sex trafficking by her own father and her mother knew about it. AdMore information:National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or humantraffickinghotline.org/Elijah Rising: www.elijahrising.org/United Against Human Trafficking: uaht.org/
Man accused of smuggling after 6 people found inside southwest Houston apartment
HOUSTON – A man is accused of smuggling Monday after police investigating a report of human trafficking found six people inside a southwest Houston apartment. Vidal Lopez, of the Houston Police Department, said officers found six men, between the ages of 20 and 25, inside the apartment. One person was charged with smuggling and operating a stash house, Lopez said. This incident is not connected to another human smuggling situation that was discovered at a home in southwest Houston last week, police said. Investigators said they believe the men arrived in Houston on Sunday.
Have you seen him? Dating app match beat woman, forced her into prostitution, authorities say
HOUSTON – Authorities are searching for a man they say attacked a woman he met on a dating app and then forced her into prostitution. The Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office is looking for Thurman Canton, 34. Investigators said a 23-year-old woman claimed she met Canton in May on an online dating app. When they met, authorities say he beat her up and then took her to a number of places and forced her to walk the streets soliciting sexual services. The Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office is looking for 34 year old Thurman Canton.
Officials give update after 46 arrests, 5 rescues in Fort Bend County during ‘massive’ human trafficking sting
RICHMOND, Texas – Dozens of people involved in human trafficking in Fort Bend County have been arrested and charged in a sting, authorities said. Undercover officers were able to identify and arrest several “johns” and suspected human traffickers, according to the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s office. According to Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton, the sting took “huge strides in eliminating the sex-trafficking trade in our county” in just a few days. To anybody in our viewership who is engaged in human trafficking, we will find you and we will arrest you,” Middleton said Wednesday during a press conference. Officials said the number of people arrested in such a short amount of time shows just how serious the issue is in Fort Bend County.
City of Houston launches new initiative to combat human trafficking, domestic violence
HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a new initiative that will target human trafficking and domestic violence in Houston Monday afternoon. Turner said he is expanding the mayor’s office of human trafficking to include domestic violence. He said the office’s new name will be Mayor’s Office of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence, which will be led by Minal Davis. The mayor’s decision to add domestic violence to the office is due to both being forms of gender-based violence. The city of Houston became the first major city in the nation to pass a hotel ordinance that will require hotels to train employees on human trafficking and indicators of sex and labor trafficking, Turner said.
Woman charged with promotion of prostitution at a Houston-area massage spa
Investigators in the Harris County Precinct 1 Human Trafficking Division have charged a woman with third-degree felony for promotion of prostitution at a Houston-area massage spa. Harris County Constable Precinct 1 shared the investigation was initiated following a citizen tip and complaint about prostitution at the spa. Deputies were able to rescue a 65-year-old woman living at G Massage who was recruited online from Los Angeles to engage in prostitution. According to officials, the trafficking victim had no friends or family in the United States, and nowhere else to stay. If you believe to have witnessed signs of human trafficking, call the human trafficking hotline at (832) 927-1650.
Female pimp sentenced to 50 years for trafficking 16-year-old, forcing her into prostitution in Houston area
HOUSTON – A woman, labeled as a pimp, was sentenced to 50 years in prison after forcing a 16-year-old girl into sex work for a month in the Houston area, according to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg on Friday. Marilyn Joy Wilkes, 27, pleaded guilty to human trafficking, sexual assault of a child under the age of 17 and compelling prostitution for a month over the 2018 Christmas holiday. The teen fled in a vehicle with her mother and officials say Wilkes followed them in a high-speed chase. Prosecutors convinced the judge to give Wilkes two 25-year prison sentences for compelling prostitution and human trafficking, officials said. Wilkes was also sentenced to the maximum of 20 years for the sexual assault of a child, which will run concurrently, prosecutors said.
32 arrested in 5-day human trafficking operation in east Harris County
HOUSTON – More than 30 people were arrested as part of an undercover human trafficking operation in eastern Harris County last month. Chris Sandoval, of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office special investigations division, said that as many as 80 law enforcement agents from several different agencies were used each day of the five-day-long Operation Kickoff 2020, which ran from Jan. 21-25. Sandoval said the operation was focused on identifying and rescuing victims of human trafficking and arresting the people responsible for trafficking them. Investigators said a total of 32 people were arrested and three of them were 17 years old. Thirty-nine charges were filed against those arrested including 22 prostitution charges, four compelling prostitution charges, six promoting prostitution charges and various weapons and drug charges.
911 operator helps rescue human trafficking victim calling from Dominican Republic
An international phone call helped save a Green Bay, Wisconsin woman’s life as she was being held captive about 2,000 miles away. “I never expected this to happen,” said Tracy Ertl, the Communications Supervisor for Brown County Public Safety. It’s a rare occurrence that the Brown County Dispatch Center gets an international call. The voice on the other end was a Green Bay woman in danger, being held captive in the Dominican Republic. She told Tracy Ertl and her team at the dispatch center she'd been there since October, with only a few chances to escape and get help.
Cancer clusters cause concern as congresswoman leads town hall in search for answers
Sunday on Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) talks about the challenge of finding answers for the community. Jackson Lee said that while she is back in her district, she is still connected to the House effort in Washington. Baylor St. Luke’s trains to identify human trafficking victimsKimberly Williams, Baylor St. Luke's Project Coordinator, Human Trafficking Initiative (KPRC)A recent study estimated that tens of thousands of victims of human trafficking are in Southeast Texas. Kimberly Williams is the project coordinator for the Human Trafficking Initiative at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and said they are often on the front lines of the human trafficking battle. Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall airs Sundays at 10:30 a.m.More informationU.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, (D) 18th Congressional DistrictKimberly Williams, Human Trafficking Project Coordinator, Baylor, St. Luke’s Medical Center
Houston music studio owner surrenders to human trafficking charges after nearly 2 months on the run
HOUSTON – The owner of a northwest Houston recording studio surrendered Wednesday on charges of sexual assault of a child, compelling prostitution and human trafficking. While Tyrone was arrested in November, when criminal charges were filed, Otis has been on the run since then. According to court documents, the girls claimed that after they were forced to prostitute and then abandoned by two other men, they couldn't identify. Court documents accused the brothers of forcing the girls to prostitute in exchange for food and sleep with customers of the studio. Both girls gave statements about what happened and picked Otis and Tyrone out of photo lineups, according to court documents.
Department of Justice Joins Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers for Human Trafficking Roundtable
The Department of Justice today joined the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) and federal and local law enforcement officials at a roundtable to discuss the challenges posed by human traffickers. They and their counterparts from across the nation are among the first to take part in FLETCs human trafficking training program. Prosecutions led by the Southern District of Georgias Human Trafficking Task Force, spearheaded by the U.S. Attorneys Office, have freed at least 39 human trafficking victims. About the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers:FLETC trains the majority of federal law enforcement officers and agents in the United States. FLETC graduates approximately 70,000 students annually and is the largest law enforcement training organization in the country.justice.gov
Some viral human trafficking posts do more harm than good
In a post on their Facebook page, Sugar Land police denied the details of that post saying while a woman did report suspicious activity they never made the link to sex trafficking and had no other reports of sex trafficking in the area. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office also used its Facebook page to call reports of zip ties being used to mark the cars of potential victims for human trafficking in Conroe a hoax. The realityChaney said the posts perpetuate a Hollywood-version of how human trafficking occurs. The viral posts also typically include a statistic about Houston being the number one hub in the United States for human trafficking. Some advocates working to stop human trafficking warn against dismissing all of the viral posts.