CHILDREN AT RISK and Community Leaders Hold Press Conference to Raise Awareness About Human Trafficking
Rashena Lindsay, 281.459.2698 or 713.301.4577
HOUSTON (August 3, 2009) – On July 28, advocacy groups and state representatives held a press conference at City Hall in Dallas to recognize the issue of Human Trafficking, as well as emphasize the efforts brought forth by city officials to combat this crime and care for victims.
“The Dallas Police Department has been innovative in their approach to decreasing the number of human trafficking victims and increasing the number of perpetrators brought to justice,” said Dr. Robert Sanborn, president and CEO of CHILDREN AT RISK.
According to Dr. Sanborn, the facts of this vicious crime include
- Approximately 18,000 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States each year (Department of Justice).
- Of the 450,000 children who run away from home, at least 150,000 are lured into prostitution each year.
- In the last quarter of 2007, 30% of calls made to the National Human Trafficking Hotline came from Texas, with 15% of those calls coming from Dallas.
- In 2008, the Dallas Police Department served 207 high-risk victims. Of those victims, 51% were actively prostituting and 94 felony cases were made against their pimps, according to Sergeant Byron Fassett.
The Dallas Police Department was also commended for assisting with the rehabilitation efforts of victims by partnering with local organizations like The Letot Center, Mosaic Family Services and The Embrey Family Foundation, who assist victims with treatment and rehabilitation.
According to Lauren Embrey, of The Embrey Family Foundation, some work has been done to decrease the number of victims and traffickers, but not enough. “Although many strides have been made in human trafficking awareness, collaboration and legislation, there are still many gaps in the system and much work remains,” she said. “There needs to be more anti-human trafficking laws and long-term services for domestic victims.”
Embrey also pointed out that victims should not be viewed as criminals but as victims. “Ninety-seven percent of these children do not choose to do this. These victims are lured, abused, traumatized and tormented to participate in this horrendous crime.”
Representative Carol Kent is an avid supporter of laws against human traffickers. “We can no longer hide from [human trafficking]; we can no longer run from it. We must put it out and draw attention to it. Taking care of the children of Texas is good for Texas, and Texas needs to be good for children,” she said.
About CHILDREN AT RISK
CHILDREN AT RISK is a nonprofit organization leading the way to improving the quality of life for children through research, collaboration, advocacy and legal services. CHILDREN AT RISK educates the community and public officials based on its groundbreaking research, Growing Up in Houston, which tracks children’s health, safety, education, and economic conditions. By understanding children’s needs and speaking out on their behalf, CHILDREN AT RISK drives change.
Press Conference Participants & Attendees
Representative Rafael Anchía (District 103)
Representative Yvonne Davis (District 111)
Representative Teri Hodge (District 100)
Ann Hettinger, State Director of Concerned Women for America of Texas
Bill Bernstein, Mosaic Family Services
Lauren Embrey, The Embrey Family Foundation
Renee Breazeale, Homeward Bound
Representative Dan Branch (District 108)
Representative Carol Kent (District 102)
Representative Allen Vaught (District 107)
Sarah Losinger, Community Advocate
The Boone Family Foundation
Daniel Meza, North Texas Anti-Trafficking Coalition
Dr. Robert Sanborn, President and CEO, CHILDREN AT RISK