Prevention Education in Texas
Welcome to the PROTECT Texas Human Trafficking Community Prevention Training for parents, guardians, caregivers and other community members! This educational information is brought to you by 3Strands Global Foundation in partnership with the Office of the Governor, Child Sex Trafficking Team. Thank you for choosing to engage in good and learn more about human trafficking.
The focus of these training videos includes an introduction to human trafficking as an issue and the steps to identify it in your community.
These videos and resources will provide you with more information on social media, gaming apps, and different tactics that exploiters are using to befriend children online while also equipping you with conversational tools regarding human trafficking prevention and online safety.
This video will introduce you to the PROTECT program and explain why prevention changes everything.
In this video, you will learn more about what human trafficking is and what it might look like in your communities.
In this video, you will learn more about online safety.
Myth 4: Individuals must be forced or coerced into commercial sex acts to be a victim of human trafficking.
Myth 5: Human trafficking and human smuggling are the same.
Myth 1: Human trafficking does not occur in the United States. It only happens in other countries.
Myth 6: All human trafficking victims attempt to seek help when in public.
Myth 2: Human trafficking victims only include foreign-born or impoverished individuals.
Myth 3:All human trafficking is sex trafficking.
Through this video, you will be equipped with conversational tools surrounding these topics and ultimately learn what you can do to prevent exploitation.
The Prevalence of Human Trafficking in Texas
Human trafficking occurs in every state in America, including Texas. According to a University of Texas study, there are an estimated 79,000 minor and youth victims of sex trafficking in Texas alone. While this statistic may sound alarming, we know that this is only a fraction of those that are being victimized.
For many, the reality of trafficking occurring in their communities is difficult to comprehend, let alone confront, making it challenging to recognize and address it. By increasing awareness across the state, we will be equipped to identify and prevent more cases than ever before.
We encourage you to learn more by browsing the hotline statistics and resources that are available here.
Our Most Vulnerable
Though there is no standard profile of a trafficking victim, several risk factors make certain individuals more susceptible. Reports indicate that traffickers often target children and youth with a history of sexual abuse, low self-esteem, and minimal social support. Runaway and homeless youth—male, female, and transgender—are at an exceptionally high risk of becoming victims, though some trafficked youth continue living at home and attending school. There is also a strong correlation between sexually exploited youth and childhood sexual abuse, chronic maltreatment and neglect, and otherwise unstable home environments. Research estimates that between 33 and 90 percent of victims of commercial child sexual exploitation have experienced these types of abuses. Evidence also suggests that LGBTQ+ youth can be up to five times more likely than heterosexual youth to be victims of trafficking. (Source)
Trauma can be defined as a psychological, emotional response to an event or an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. It can also be defined as the exposure to experiences that exceed one’s capacity to cope.
It is important to know that what traumatizes one person might not traumatize the next. Some have undergone trauma and have worked or are working to address it, but many have undergone trauma are not yet aware of its impact. Various environments or experiences may be triggering to one impacted by trauma, and many find it difficult to identify their triggers.
When loosely applied, this trauma definition can refer to something upsetting, such as being involved in an accident, having an illness or injury, losing a loved one, or going through a divorce. However, it can also include experiences that are severely damaging, such as rape or torture.
Signs that someone has been impacted by trauma include, but are not limited to, the individual may be anxious and withdrawn, may have difficulty with impulse control, may have impaired short-term memory, may experience times of confusion and disorientation, may appear on-edge, and may frequently daydream.
Previous traumatic experiences are key risk factors for future victimization. Trauma can lead to changes in behavior and the way one reacts. When victims undergo multiple mental, physical, and emotional forms of trauma, this leads to changes in the brain and rewiring of cognitive functions, which is known as poly-victimization. Due to the intense trauma, coercion, manipulation, and isolation that occurs within situations of trafficking, victims also often experience a strong emotional attachment to their trafficker called a trauma bond, also known as Stockholm Syndrome. This bond offers an explanation as to why many being trafficked do not immediately ask for help.
The more we understand trauma, the better our perspective on behaviors or responses from those who may be being exploited. This understanding allows us to go from asking, “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” This subtle but profound shift focuses on building relationships and removing blame.
How to React
It is essential to actively listen if one discloses that they have been a victim of human trafficking. Ask yourself, “am I showing care and love, or am I quick to cast aside their experiences in response to my feeling uncomfortable?” Establish trust by helping the individual feel comfortable and reassuring them that the abuse is not their fault. Don’t react with shock or anger, or force the individual to tell you everything. Be supportive and help them understand that they do not have to carry the burden alone. Report to law enforcement as soon as it is possible to do so.
Reporting Human Trafficking in Texas
If you feel a child is in immediate danger, call 911.
To get help or report trafficking, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline:
Send a text message: Text HELP to BEFREE (233733)
Chat Online: National Human Trafficking Hotline
Additional Reporting Resources
For more information on how to bring PROTECT Prevention Education to your school or district, reach out to us at:
CyberTipline is the nation’s centralized reporting system for the online exploitation of children. The public and electronic service providers can make reports of suspected online enticement of children for sexual acts, extra-familial child sexual molestation, child pornography, child sex tourism, child sex trafficking, unsolicited obscene materials sent to a child, misleading domain names, and misleading words or digital images on the internet.
NetSmartz is a place where the public and electronic service providers can report suspected online and offline child sexual exploitation.
'Be The One' Campaign in Texas
University of Texas, Human Trafficking Research