Human trafficking too difficult to stop? - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Human trafficking too difficult to stop?

Posted: Updated:

AMARILLO, TX- Human trafficking and sex trafficking are crimes police often admit are just too hard to crack down on. It's been a long debated issue in the Texas legislature for years with no "quick fix" solution. 

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott recently announced our state receives the highest  number of calls pertaining to trafficking.  While the tips continue pouring in, catching a person smuggling people isn't like catching a person smuggling narcotics. We're told it takes more than law enforcement to weed out the growing problem.  

Thousands of drivers travel up and down I-40 and I-27 daily and with so many drivers, it's easy to blend in. 

"I'm sure there's people out there probably every day trafficking humans across state lines," DPS Trooper Gabriel Medrano said. 

Highway patrolmen are the first line of defense when it comes to stopping illegal activity. 

"A criminal has a place where he feels safe and then he goes and commits a crime," Medrano explained. "On the way back from committing that crime, he's going to go back to the place where he feels safe and in between there, he has to be on the roadway. That's where the highway patrol wants to make contact with that person." 

Smugglers are becoming more sophisticated. They are taking 18-wheelers and copying logos from various companies and name-brand stores.
       
"I'm not surprised this is happening," Dr. Whit Walker with Texas Tech said. "With states in the south closer to Mexico, there is a higher possibility of human trafficking." 

Dr. Walker studies human trafficking cases happening around the world. He says it's a topic most aren't aware of until it's happening in their own backyard. 

To help deter the crime, Governor Rick Perry signed into law Senate Bill 24. The bill allows judges to sentence traffickers  to spend up to 99 years behind bars. That alone, may not be enough. 

"There is a high profit margin (with trafficking)," Walker said. "If you can turn a trick (prostitute) and get paid $50 and use this girl 20 times a night, you can bring in a whole lot of money if you do this and so my guess is there still is a willingness to try it." 

The Texas Department of Public Safety did not have records immediately available showing the number of human trafficking arrests made thus far this year. 

Anyone with information regarding human trafficking should call the International Human Trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or 9-1-1.