Precinct 3 Constable Wayne Thompson announced the partnership at a press conference Friday with Texas Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, and Childproof America Executive Director Kelly Litvak of Katy.
“We teamed with Childproof America in order to combat this epidemic and to ensure the safety of our children and families in the future,” Thompson said.
Huffman said that Gov. Greg Abbott recently endorsed what she considers a very strong legislative agenda, which includes expanding efforts to address the sex trafficking problem, especially for children. Abbott's "Preventing Crime, Protecting Texans, Punishing Criminals" plan would allocate $22 million to the Texas Department of Public Safety for regional squads to investigate human trafficking cases, and for training local law enforcement, according to Community Impact Newspaper partner the Texas Tribune.
“A [University of Texas report] from 2017 tells us that we have 300,000 human trafficking victims in the state of TX - 79,000 of whom are minors.” Huffman said.
Litvak said the typical victims of child sex trafficking are girls between the ages of 12 and 14, and that they can be recruited over a span of months or years. Often, the girl is recruited by someone she knows, such as classmates or peers in shared social groups, Litvak said.
“This is a crisis that is impacting our children in our schools, in our churches and in our neighborhoods,” she said.
Childproof America is hosting an educational referendum Feb. 20 at CrossPoint Community Church, 700 Westgreen Blvd., Katy, at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and Litvak said the training would be appropriate for "mature" 12-year-olds" and older. Registration is available online.
Anyone who suspects someone they know has been a victim of human trafficking should call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888. Local help is also available through the Rescue Houston Hotline at 713-322-8000.