As lawmakers have designated the month of January Human Trafficking Awareness Month, new reports show that the Dallas Police Department rescued nearly 100 children from human traffickers in 2023. 

During a recent meeting with the Dallas City Council Public Safety Committee, Dallas PD reported that they have rescued 99 children from alleged human traffickers. 

Additionally, in partnership with the North Texas Trafficking Task Force, Dallas PD revealed that the department has made 190 arrests, with 116 from adult human trafficking cases and 74 from juvenile incidents. 

The Dallas Express reported that compared to 2022, Dallas PD logged an increase of 15.4 percent in reports of human trafficking in 2023. Specifically, women and girls who are Black and Hispanic have borne the brunt of human trafficking crimes. 

In response to the increase in human trafficking cases, the City of Dallas is planning to launch a human trafficking dashboard to show the local incidents and the work being done to stop them from continuing. 

Jennifer Reed, a data science analyst for the office of Data Analytics and Business intelligence who is helping to create the dashboard, says human trafficking cases can be harder to discern than other crimes. 

“Even when compared with other criminal activity, human trafficking can be difficult to detect, as traffickers often condition the trafficked across time, using lies, threats, and intimidation to [get them to] lie to the police and other authorities regarding facts as simple as their own names and dates of birth,” Reed said.

Texas Scorecard has reported on the family of a sex-trafficked teen in Dallas who is raising awareness of how the state’s justice system is failing human trafficking victims. 

The daughter went missing from a Dallas Mavericks game in 2022. She has since been found and is safe. However, her parents are frustrated with Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot for failing to prosecute a suspect linked to the trafficking who was also charged with sexually assaulting the 15-year-old girl. 

The victim’s mom recounted multiple missteps by the Dallas Police and prosecutors in their daughter’s trafficking case. 

First, the Dallas Police Department refused to let her husband file a missing person’s report, as they classify older missing teens as “runaways.” They told the family that they would have to file a report with their local police department 40 miles away from where their daughter went missing. 

Ahead of the grand jury hearing the case, the victim’s mom said her lawyer offered the Dallas prosecutor more documentation about her daughter’s case, but the prosecutor refused, saying, “If I need it, I’ll subpoena it.”

After the grand jury allowed the human trafficker to go free, Creuzot told the family that the prosecutors had followed “office policy” by not recommending an indictment and he would not re-present the case with the additional evidence.

However, Dallas isn’t the only North Texas city to face an increase in human trafficking incidents. 

Texas Scorecard has also reported that the Fort Worth Police Department saw a 21 percent increase in human trafficking incidents logged between January and September 2023. 

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.