DPS Announces Results from Human Trafficking Operations

March 4, 2024
Human Trafficking Operations

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announces the results of several human trafficking mitigation and rescue operations conducted during January 2024, which is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. 

During that month alone, Special Agents from DPS’ Criminal Investigations Division (CID), along with local and federal partners, conducted 12 operations focused on human trafficking. These operations resulted in the rescue of 52 trafficking victims, including nine children. 

“Human trafficking continues to pose a major threat to the safety of our communities,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “These despicable acts are taking place in every state, every day, yet they often go unnoticed, which is why we are asking Texans to be more vigilant in order to stop the vicious cycle.” 

The human trafficking mitigation and rescue operations were conducted in cities across the state including Dallas, Houston and Midland.

Juvenile Victim from Kansas City Involved in Sex Trafficking Recovered in Dallas

DPS Special Agents worked jointly with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in an effort to recover a juvenile victim who was being sex trafficked in the north Texas area. Special Agents responded to a location near Dallas with several hotels and apartments. Law enforcement eventually recovered the juvenile victim at a local fast-food establishment. The juvenile victim was taken to a hospital for evaluation and medical services. 

Human Trafficking Operation in Houston Results in the Recovery of Four Victims

DPS Special Agents participated in a multi-agency operation hosted by TABC in Houston, designed to target juvenile victims of human trafficking by soliciting online advertisements seeking payment for sexual activity. During the operation, 11 individuals were recovered with four making outcries as victims of human trafficking and/or sexual assault.

Victim Recovery Operation in Houston Leads to the Recovery of 14 Human Trafficking Victims; Three Suspected Traffickers Arrested

DPS Special Agents conducted a victim recovery operation along with a demand reduction operation in conjunction with additional agencies in Houston. The operation was designed to target juvenile victims by soliciting online advertisements seeking payment for sexual activity. During the multi-day joint operation, a total of 14 human trafficking victims were recovered. Four of the victims were confirmed juveniles. Three suspected male traffickers were also arrested, and eight males were arrested for solicitation of prostitution.

Human trafficking has devastating impacts on victims and our communities. DPS encourages Texans to keep watch of the following possible indicators and to report them to authorities immediately:

  • The person appears to be under control of another person either physically (someone else controls the person’s possessions i.e., ID, money, phone) or psychologically (little to no eye contact, unable to speak for themselves or unable to make simple decisions without approval).
  • The person has little to no awareness of their surroundings including where they are or where they are headed. 
  • The person has untreated illness or infection, visible injuries, appears malnourished or sleep deprived.
  • The person’s clothing is inappropriate for the weather or environment. The person is dressed in a manner that does not appear age appropriate or makes them appear older. 
  • The person is being transported to and from work by their employer.
  • The person lives where they work or works excessively long or unusual hours. 
  • The person’s workplace has security measures that are unusual or excessive for the type of business (i.e., boarded or opaque windows, excessive security cameras).

The presence of an indicator does not confirm an occurrence of human trafficking; however, the combination and context of indicators may indicate human trafficking pending law enforcement investigation and you are encouraged to report it.

If you see signs of human trafficking, call 911 immediately to make a report and be ready to give as many details as possible. You can also make an anonymous report on iWatchTexas or call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text “BeFree” to 233733.

Remember do not endanger yourself or others by intervening or confronting someone you suspect of engaging in human trafficking if it is not safe to do so.

### (HQ 2024-010)