By: Sara Kim
One of the national issues most prevalent in Texas may be centered on border control and the flow of undocumented immigrants. However, there is a hidden link between border control and another multi-billion dollar organized crime activity: human trafficking. Because many of the undocumented immigrants who cross the border are left vulnerable and helpless, they create the perfect target for traffickers hunting for victims. Many times, these victims are children who cross the border without any guardians to protect them.
Most of these minors try to cross the border as a desperate attempt to escape the violence and abuse they faced in their homeland. According to statistics, just within 6 months between October 2014 and March 2015, 44,226 unaccompanied minors were caught crossing the Southwest border. If such a huge number of children were caught, one can only imagine the number of unprotected children who may have been able to cross unnoticeably.
According to the Faith Alliance against Slavery and Trafficking, “95% of all victims of labor trafficking are immigrants and 80% are undocumented.” In Texas, the state that encompasses the most territory in the US-Mexico border, the statistics are that much more severe. It is estimated that around 25% of the 300,000 trafficked children in the U.S. are from Texas – that’s one in every four children trafficked in the whole country. This combination of undocumented immigrants and sex trafficking in Texas opens up another problem of human smuggling, in which victims are trafficked to the U.S. from the southern countries with the purpose of being used as sex slaves.
All these qualities of Texas, including the large pool of vulnerable children, large number of undocumented immigrants, and high rates of human trafficking, allow the state to be a hub for traffickers looking for easy targets. However, accurate data is not available on the issue, nor is the issue widely and publicly addressed in a manner the intensity of the problem deserves.
Sara (Da Som) Kim is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a Social Media Assistant at Cancer InCytes.
“Everything is Bigger in Texas, Including the Human Trafficking Industry.” The Daily Scholar. April 28, 2015. URL: https://thedailyscholar.com/articles/383. Date accessed 5/6/15.
Photo Credit: John Moore/ Getty. The Daily Scholar [https://thedailyscholar.com/articles/383]