Local News

Nov 1, 2013 6:25 PM by Andrew Ellison - aellison@kristv.com

Human Trafficking: An Elusive Crime

CORPUS CHRISTI - Bailouts, and the prostitution bust earlier this week in Rockport, involving women smuggled into the country from China, have highlighted the issue of human trafficking.

Today, we looked into what law enforcement agencies are doing about the problem.

We found out they have a really tough time identifying and fighting the problem.

"It is safe to say that it is not a very visible crime, it's not something that's out there and in your face," Captain David Cook from the Corpus Christi Police Department says.

Captain Cook added that police would typically have to receive a tip that trafficking is going on.

Either that or get one of the girls they bust for prostitution to provide information.

"One of the questions we ask them is are you being trafficked? Have you been forced into this lifestyle? Do you have someone intimidating you?" Cook says.

But police say that information is hard to come by, and as a result, the department says it hasn't had an active human trafficking case in at least two years.

And for a problem this elusive, resources are also an issue.

"Human trafficking is of course a priority if we become aware of it. But I have mid level and high level dealers out there in this community that are dealing pounds of marijuana, that are dealing ounces of cocaine," Cook says.

The Nueces County Sheriff's Office has a similar take on the issue, saying they're strapped for resources too.

They added that they do participate in several task forces, joining forces with the Feds, and other agencies to try and combat the problem.

"It's got to be a unified effort. One agency cannot do it by themselves. As we speak, there's probably illegal activity coming down US 77, 181, people who made illegal entries into the United States. Even as we speak it's probably happening. One agency cannot do it by themselves," Captain David Alaniz says.

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