Combating domestic minor sex trafficking
CHILDREN AT RISK is committed to strengthening laws and policies on human trafficking and improving the response to children who have been commercially sexually exploited.
Center to End the Trafficking & Exploitation of Children (CETEC)
The Center to End the Trafficking and Exploitation of Children, the only center of its kind in Texas, was established to combat domestic minor sex trafficking. CETEC’s works to: educate the community through training, presentations, publications, media outreach and an annual summit; engage in legal research, study trafficking trends, and explore best practices; collaborate with organizations on the front lines to determine community needs; and provide resources for public officials, draft and support positive legislative change.
CHILDREN AT RISK’s Center to End the Trafficking & Exploitation of Children aims to improve public policies in order to
- Prevent instances of human trafficking
- Protect victims and support human trafficking survivors
- Increase the prosecution of traffickers and buyers
- Increase prevention education in schools with a focus on gender equality, bodily autonomy, and online safety
- Increase buyer diversion and education program
- Increase prosecution and penalties for sex buyers
- Provide a Set Aside for victims of human trafficking to overturn convictions for prostitution and related non-violent crimes victims committed while trafficked
- Treat prostituted individuals with a victim-centered approach
- Decrease criminal penalties for prostituted individuals and increase exit services
- End prosecution of minors for prostitution and increase holistic services for child trafficking victims to include long term health care, housing assistance, and job placement
Our Latest Human Trafficking Research & Resources
Illicit Massage Businesses Toolkit
Illicit Massage Businesses (IMBs) use the cover of a legitimate service to engage in prostitution and often human trafficking by using force, fraud or coercion to compel the women working there to provide sexual services to the buyers who patronize these places. Our local government and law enforcement manuals describe in detail how to effectively employ these existing statutes and regulations to eradicate IMBs. The law enforcement manual also provides best practices for engaging with the victims trapped in IMBs, including how to interview and work with survivors using victim-centered, trauma-informed methods.
How Close Is Human Trafficking to Your Child’s School?
Across the state of Texas, there are hundreds of illegal massage businesses acting as fronts for human trafficking and sexual exploitation. These havens for human trafficking are hiding in plain sight: they exist all across our major cities, tucked inside some of our wealthiest neighborhoods. Many can even be found within walking distance of public schools.
CHILDREN AT RISK created an interactive map showing the more than 600 suspected illegal massage businesses in Texas and their proximity to every public school.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS TOURS
Texas is a leading hub for human trafficking and continued efforts are being made to reduce and assist the victims of these crimes. CHILDREN AT RISK leads educational presentations on human trafficking in Houston as well as Dallas & Fort Worth. Awareness bus tours where participants learn to identify the red flags and potential signs of human trafficking in their community are also offered. Check out our events calendar for upcoming tour dates, or contact us to request a speaker or tour.
Partners in Prevention: Putting Human Traffickers Out of Business
CHILDREN AT RISK is proud to have worked beside lawmakers, the Secretary of State, and other allies to help launch a voluntary Human Trafficking Prevention Business Partnership Program. Corporations and private entities joining this program have a unique opportunity to help strengthen community awareness about human trafficking, reduce their exposure to liability, and improve their reputation for displaying corporate social responsibility. Companies which implement a zero tolerance policy with respect to human trafficking may submit an application to the Secretary of State and receive official state recognition.
CEASE Houston & CEASE North Texas
Human trafficking is an illicit market that relies on basic economic principles of supply and demand. Until we end the demand for sex and labor trafficking, there will be those who supply minor victims. Demand fuels the problem and puts tax-free money in the pockets of pimps and traffickers. If there were no buyers, there would be no business. The Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) network is a collaboration of pioneering cities committed to innovating, testing, and sharing strategies to deter people from buying sex. CHILDREN coordinates CEASE Network teams in Houston and North Texas to create and execute strategies for reducing demand. These teams take a holistic approach and rely on the expertise and collaboration of survivors, law enforcement, service providers, researchers, public officials, corporate leaders, philanthropists, and others to address demand.
In collaboration with the Harris County Attorney’s Office and private law firms, CHILDREN AT RISK established Project AWESOME (Attorneys Working to End Sexually-Oriented Massage Establishments). Project AWESOME allows civil attorneys to file suits against these establishments on behalf of the county. This pro bono effort aims to eliminate IMBs using nuisance and abatement actions.
Advocates in Action As the 87th Texas Legislative Session heats up, Children at Risk advocates are hard at work supporting and drawing attention to good bills for kids. So far this session, Children at Risk has hosted three advocacy days and virtual rallies,...
Children at Risk Senior Staff Attorney and Anti-Trafficking Expert, Jamey Caruthers, testified in support of House Bill 1540 (S. Thompson) in front of the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on March 15, 2021. In Fiscal Year 2019, 1,973 children and youth...
CHILDREN AT RISK kicked off the new year with new projects and a new legislative session. Below are just a few highlights from our efforts this January! CHILDREN AT RISK & Anti-Trafficking Advocates Rally to End Trafficking NOW! Closing out Human Trafficking...