Thirty-one children in North Texas were located, recovered or rescued during a recent month-long human trafficking operation, the Justice Department reported this week.
“Operation Missing in the Metroplex” was a joint operation led by the U.S. Marshals Service and Homeland Security Investigations in partnership with local police in Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth and Grand Prairie.
According to the DOJ, at least seven of the children rescued were considered “critically missing” with ties to sex trafficking. Sadly, some were found at the homes of “johns” or en route to sex work. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to think about these children being exploited, but there’s hope now that they’ve been rescued.
“The remaining 24 children were recovered from friends or relatives, reunited with their legal guardians, and removed from the missing children database,” the DOJ reported.
Human trafficking is a worldwide problem, but it feels like Texas is primed to be a hotspot for it due to the I-35 corridor, our close proximity to an international border, and our huge metroplexes.
Statistics shared by the Texas Attorney General’s Office indicate that there are an estimated 79,000 victims of youth and minor sex trafficking in our state at any given time. There are about 234,000 victims of labor trafficking in Texas at any given time as well.
If you spot or suspect human trafficking in your neighborhood (and yes, it can happen in your neighborhood) please call 9-1-1 or reach out to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888. You can also text them with the word “HELP” or “INFO” at 233733, or email them at Report@PolarisProject.org.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office website has more tips on how to spot human trafficking, common myths about it, and what you can do to help prevent it.
LOOK: Milestones in women’s history from the year you were born
Women have left marks on everything from entertainment and music to space exploration, athletics, and technology. Each passing year and new milestone makes it clear both how recent this history-making is in relation to the rest of the country, as well as how far we still need to go. The resulting timeline shows that women are constantly making history worthy of best-selling biographies and classroom textbooks; someone just needs to write about them.
Scroll through to find out when women in the U.S. and around the world won rights, the names of women who shattered the glass ceiling, and which country’s women banded together to end a civil war.
LOOK: 50 essential civil rights speeches
Many of the speakers had a lifetime commitment to human rights, but one tried to silence an activist lobbying for voting rights, before later signing off on major civil rights legislation. Several fought for freedom for more than one oppressed group.
Keep reading to discover 50 essential civil rights speeches.