Saturday, January 23, 2016
HOUSTON (KTRK) — Artists and activists are teaming up in Midtown to fight the ever-growing problem of human trafficking.
In the event held on Dennis Street Saturday evening, everyone was given red lanterns that lit up. Organizers say those symbolize a beacon of light and hope that human trafficking victims can see and know the people there are here for them.
Worldwide, more than 20 million people are trafficked for labor and sex every year. Houston is widely regarded as a hot bed for trafficking. Organizers estimate at least 20,000 victims are in the city.
Just this week, Harris County Precinct Four Constables executed a sting that led to the arrest of 19 Johns, including a Houston police officer.
Constable Tim Herman says the goal of these stings is always to find and rescue potential victims of trafficking and arresting the guys who prey on them.
Timeka Walker with United Against Human Trafficking says this event is all about getting the word out that these victims are not alone.
“The biggest part that drives this industry is fear,” Walker said. “So we try to work to bring awareness so people aren’t so fearful…That they can actually contact their law enforcement entities to help them and to rescue them from these atrocities.”
Part of the program here is a series of short films. In one of those a local victim of human trafficking will share her story.