Child Trafficking & Exploitation
35,000+ Texas children attend public schools that are within 1,000 feet of a suspected illegal massage business
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
CHILDREN AT RISK was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Edward N. and Margaret G. Marsh Foundation to help fund the nonprofit’s Center to End the Trafficking and Exploitation of Children and expand the Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation in El Paso.
Coming out is a testimony in itself. I told my mother when I was a sophomore in college. Preparing to come out wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. I drafted numerous speeches and spent countless tearful nights racked with anxiety. But, to my surprise, the best speech...
Over the last 140 days, Children at Risk monitored thousands of bills, registered support for bills 93 times, provided written testimony 23 times, and provided oral testimony 20 times. Out of our initial legislative priorities, 17 bills ultimately made it to the...
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...
Child safety experts from Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and the Rio Grande Valley highlight how COVID-19 is impacting their regions, what they are doing to adapt, and what Texas Legislators need to know. While children have largely been spared the worst of the...
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. IMBs...
By Caroline Roberts On Tuesday, January 22, 2019, over 200 advocates, legislators and concerned citizens from around the state gathered on the south steps of the Texas Capitol to support human trafficking legislation. Members of the crowd excitedly braved the cold,...
By David McClendon & Jamey Caruthers, CHILDREN AT RISK Across the state of Texas, there are hundreds of illegal massage businesses (IMBs) acting as fronts for human trafficking and sexual exploitation. These illicit businesses are found in nearly all major Texas...
Thanks to the generous support of the Texas Bar Foundation, CHILDREN AT RISK is pleased to announce the release of its latest publication, The Sex Trafficking Marketplace: Addressing Demand through Legislation and Tactics. In order to better understand the sex...
“Can this city really change?” This was a question I asked a young woman named “Dee” a little over a year ago. When I first met Dee she was working in a local “gentlemen’s club” and making a living the only way she knew how…by selling herself. After being kicked out...
CLE: Non-Disclosure for Victims of Human Trafficking
This Continuing Legal Education credit provides information on how to seal records for human trafficking victims. During the 86th Texas Legislative Session, Senate Bill 20 created a special type of nondisclosure (Texas Gov. Code § 411.0728) for victims of human trafficking or compelled prostitution. The CLE covers a general overview of non-disclosure statutes as well as the new option and ethical considerations for representing victims of human trafficking. An order of nondisclosure allows survivors who are rescued from a life of human trafficking to lead a normal and productive life without the stigma of arrest that they should never have been convicted of in the first place. (1 hr. general; .5 hr. ethics)
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.