City Council members learned Tuesday that Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston are the two Texas metro areas with the highest numbers of human-trafficking cases.
“Human trafficking is an issue,” said Ken Dean, assistant police chief. “It’s very rare you find just one victim. We have our fair share when it come to the numbers of human-trafficking victims. We have plenty of work to be done.”
Fort Worth’s major-case unit along with a detective, officer, two Homeland Security agents and a civilian task force coordinator investigate human trafficking in Fort Worth, Dean said.
Human trafficking involves forcing a person or child into the sex trades or other labor, he said.
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Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray said, “We as a city need to figure out how to do more.”
In one case, police investigated an east-side gang for human trafficking for nine months. In all, 12 victims were identified and nine defendants were convicted and sent to prison, some for as long as 30 years, Dean said. As many as 40 other possible victims were identified but never found, he said.
Snapshot of human trafficking in Fort Worth
17 cases investigated from January 2015 to January 2016
28 cases investigated from January 2016 to January 2017
26 cases investigated from January 2017 to April 2017
62 victims in 2016-17 in Fort Worth
313,000 human trafficking victims in Texas
Source: Fort Worth Police Department