Many consider 1863, the year the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, as the year slavery ended. Perhaps others cite 1981, the year Mauritania became the last country on earth to abolish slavery. However, this ancient form of exploitation continues in our time and in our nation in the form of human trafficking.
Human trafficking is typically divided between two types: labor trafficking and sex trafficking. Labor trafficking can occur in domestic work, restaurant/food services, traveling sales crews, bars/clubs, construction, health/beauty services, and begging rings. Sex trafficking venues include hotels/motels, commercial-fronts, residential brothels, escort services, online ads, truck stops, and bars/clubs. Victims of these illicit markets include foreigners who are brought across international borders as well as U.S. citizens and legal residents who are trafficked within U.S. borders. On a global scale, approximately 600,000–800,000 people are trafficked each year.
Of the 14,500-17,500 people who are trafficked into the United States each year, the U.S. government believes that 80 percent are women and approximately 50 percent are minors. While human trafficking occurs in many places both nationally and globally, rates of trafficking are alarmingly high in our state. Texas is a hub for international human trafficking because of its many busy interstate highways, international airports, bus stations, shipping commerce through the Gulf of Mexico, and its shared border with Mexico. Specifically, Harris County and the North Texas region serve as major areas for trafficking. In addition, Texas is home to the I-10 corridor, which the U.S. Department of Justice recently designated as the number one route for human trafficking in the U.S.