Human Trafficking on the Rise in the United States

Texas is a hot spot for human trafficking.

Serena Dechant, Contributer

 The percentiles have hit an all-time high in 2019, and in Texas alone, 1,080 cases of human trafficking and 2,720 suspected contacts were reported in 2019. Seven out of ten victims are female and twenty five percent are children.

 “I just thought that was incredibly flattering and that they were serious about helping me,” said Courtney Litvak. She was eighteen when her parents took her phone to push her out of a downward spiral with drugs. Human traffickers that called themselves her “friends” targeted her weakness, and then moved her from Katy, Texas across the country. 

  “In a matter of months, not even one year, I went from saving myself for marriage in a very safe relationship with someone … to have that taken from me all in one night,” Litvak said. She told Houston Chronicle that she had an older boyfriend who eventually brain washed her and groomed her for sex trafficking. A study at The University of Texas at Austin reported over 79,000 cases of youth sex trafficking in Texas in 2016. 

People don’t wake up and say that they want to prostitute themselves or be a prostitute, they just don’t wake up and have that thought. I didn’t want to do this, nobody wants to do this, but you get to a point where you do what you have to do just to survive,” Julia Walsh said while sharing her story with NBC 5. She was forced into sex trafficking starting in GrapevineTexas and moved around to twenty states and one-hundred and thirty-one cities. Walsh told NBC 5 she was essentially a “modern-day slave”. Her traffickers not only severely beat her, they also threatened to hurt members of her family if she ever tried to leave.  

  Human Trafficking in Texas is a huge problem and happens not only in big cities like Houston and Dallas but also in suburbs across the state. Last year Homeland Security reported 37,547 people arrested in the country for human smuggling and trafficking among other thingsThis is a problem everyone needs spread awareness about and try to help victims of human trafficking. 

Excerpts credited to NBC-5, American Bar Association2019, Houston Chronicle, UT-Austin, and The Tim Tebow Foundation