TYLER, Texas (KETK) – As National Human Trafficking Prevention month continues, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission released statistics on human trafficking in the state.
According to the HHSC, Texas has the second highest number of trafficking cases in the country.
HHS cited a study that found that there are an estimated 234,000 victims of labor trafficking in Texas at any given time, and 79,000 victims of youth and minor sex trafficking in Texas at any given time.
The average age a child trafficking victim is first sold for sex is 15. Last year, there were 1,639,064 online sex ads, many of which sold trafficking victims. 223,910 online ads in Texas last year are believed to have sold children.
Human trafficking falls into two major categories: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Victims can be any age.
Texas Health and Human services defines the terms as follows:
Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing or soliciting of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is 17 or younger.
Labor trafficking involves the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtainment of a person through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
If you suspect human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888 or text “Help” or “Info” to 233733.