Texas AG creates task force aimed at human trafficking
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is taking aim at human trafficking.
"I'm creating a new unit within my office dedicated to fighting human trafficking," Paxton said.
Paxton announced his office is forming a new unit, and said the state is at the heart of human trafficking in the United States ranking second highest among the states for the number of calls to the national human trafficking resources center.
"I think education, awareness, there's plenty of people in this room that have been involved in this issue for years and I think one of the things they would tell you is that we just need to make people more aware so they can notice what's going on, we can prevent it and we can spot it when it's happening," Paxton said.
No Boundaries International director Traci Rogers said the human trafficking numbers are rising, even right here in our own backyard.
"Sometimes we go around with blinders and see what's happening and when we do, we don't know what to do with that information," Rogers said.
Family support services said they saw dozens of cases in 2015 here in the panhandle alone.
"They saw 30 victims from ages 9 to 17, and that's as far as children," Family Support Service's Brandon Luera said.
Both organizations said major highways like Interstate 40 and Interstate 27 are contributors to the problem.
Paxton said the unit will use investigations, prosecutions, training and raising awareness to fight trafficking.
Organizations said it will take an army to make human trafficking a thing of the past.
"It's very much needed," Luera said.
"It's going to take people in positions of power and authority to get this moving forward," Rogers said.
The leader of the unit, Kirsta Melton, was a prosecutor in the family justice unit of the Bexar County district attorney's office for 14 years.
Family Support Services said they are also currently working on their own coalition focusing on human trafficking data to better serve the area.