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Vulnerable Texas Children Are At Risk For Exploitation, Trafficking

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Sex traffickers are drawn to vulnerable kids. Young victims are often homeless or runaways, have previously been abused or neglected, or who have at some point been flagged by social service providers. 

Thelatest reportfrom UT Austin's Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault highlights the experiences of individuals from Houston, Lubbock and the Texas-Mexico border region who survived being trafficked at a young age.

Eighty-three percent of responders who identify as sex trafficking victims said they have also experienced some other form of exploitation, like wage theft or abuse.

The investigation outlines the "life cycle" of exploitiation, factoring in vulnerabilities like individual and environmental circumstances, as well the exploiters themselves. Almost 50 percent of victims interviewed reported being forced to participate in commercial sex by a romantic partner. 

In what ways can family history or financial strain contribute to added risk and lack of stability for youth?

What are common signs of exploitation and what actions can you take to combat trafficking in your community? 

The National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1 (888) 373-7888. Text 233733 or visit humantraffickinghotline.org for more information.


"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet at @TPRSource. This interview aired on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

Copyright 2019 Texas Public Radio

Raised in San Antonio, Jan Ross is a graduate of UT Austin’s School of Journalism. Before starting at Texas Public Radio, she interned for the News Desk at NPR Headquarters and the network’s mid-day program, Here & Now. She was a member of Texas Standard’s digital-first web team and interned during the newsmagazine show’s launch in 2015. Jan Ross is a Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change Fellow and was selected for the University of Texas System’s Archer Fellowship in Washington, D.C. Described as a “walking Wikipedia,” Jan Ross is interested in all things pop culture and global affairs. Her journalistic interests range from issues of social inequality to media commentary. She enjoys listening to podcasts and live music, traveling, and sharing the next-best shows on TV.