Minor sex trafficking may not currently take place in Young County, but it does occur only a few hours east of us.
Traffick 911, an organization that focuses on research and prevention of minor sex trafficking, made its way to Graham recently to instruct local law enforcement, teachers, child abuse representatives and other professionals working with children on a day-to-day basis on how to spot signs of minor sex trafficking.
Dallas and Fort Worth have been named by the FBI as two of the top 14 cities with high volumes of trafficking victims; typically children ranging from ages 12-13, most of them female.
“Texas in general is kind of the perfect storm when it comes to trafficking because we have great infrastructure, lots of major interstates and major airports,” said Lindsey Speed, director of development and communication at Traffick 911. “There is a lot of movement that goes on through our state, that’s one of the reasons why any town along interstates and major highways are going to see some activity. I-10 goes in the southern sector of Texas through El Paso, and south I-10 is the No. 1 route for trafficking in the U.S.”
Interstate Highway 10 runs through South Texas and links to I-20 and I-35, both of which lead to DFW.
“That’s one of the reasons the North Texas area sees a lot of the activity,” Speed said. “The truth is what we’re seeing more and more (in smaller cities). As the large cities begin to put action plans for this, these traffickers and their rings are hiding a lot in the outskirts of the Metroplex because they’re a little bit more under the radar. First Responders (in smaller regions) aren’t trained to see this, so (traffickers) can stay safer in that area.”
Read more in Wednesday's Graham Leader.