UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:53am
Human trafficking is a big concern in Texas. In 2008, 38 percent of all calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline were from Texas, and 25 percent of all certified foreign human trafficking victims have been from the state as well.
Now, the governor may make his pitch for new legislation across the state.
Here in Central Texas, experts believe there are a large number of American youths at risk. It's been called the modern day slave trade. Since 2005, Houston has seen 160 cases of human trafficking. That's the second largest case in the U.S.
In the past three weeks, a central Texas woman was found being forced to prostitute, according to Sociology Professor, Dr. Kim Kotrla.
One mother says she worries about her children all the time. "You know, i have daughters, and I was always afraid that that could happen to them," says Andrea Taylor.
Experts say human trafficking can happen anywhere, and it does happen here in central Texas. Experts at the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children say the fastest growing population seen in human trafficking is our own kids.
"Middle class, kids that get involved in relationships with older people, who get exploited without really knowing they are being exploited," says Executive Director at the Advocacy Center, David Davis. "So, the sex trafficking extends to the kid next door, and that's troubling."
For a case to be considered human trafficking there has to be evidence of force, fraud or coercion when involving an adult. When it comes to minors, anyone under 18 used in a commercial sex or labor act is a victim.
Gov. Perry calls on Texas legislature to create tougher laws to punish these criminals, ranging from 25 years to life in prison.
For more information or help, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-3737-888, or you can click here to learn more.