Local police keep eye on human trafficking issue



Last year, 144 human trafficking cases were reported in the Houston are, and a total of 436 throughout Texas. The I-10 corridor, which runs through Houston and Katy, is designated as the number one route for human trafficking in the country by the U.S Department of Justice. It is estimated that 25 percent of victims in the U.S. are trafficked through Texas.

“Human trafficking is considered a form of modern-day slavery through which individuals are forced to provide services or labor through the force, or fraud,” said Edwin Chapuseaux, investigator of Harris County Sheriff’s Office. “Human trafficking is an offense against a person and a violation of civil rights. With a trafficker, the person doesn’t let go of the individual. He wants them to make money for him and will hold onto that person as long as he can.”

In the outlying areas of Houston, local law enforcement such as those in Tomball and Magnolia are trained to identify and combat human trafficking.

“There have been instances of human trafficking in the Harris County Precinct 4 and other nearby areas,” said Robert Hauk, Tomball Police Chief.

While Hauk said he isn’t aware of any specific cases within the Tomball city limits, he said his department needs to maintain focus on the issue.

“Human trafficking is absolutely an issue in the Houston region, and at any given time it could become an issue in the city of Tomball,” Hauk said. “I think it would be naïve for us to this wouldn’t happen in our community.

“We do take it seriously and will do anything and everything we can to combat it on our area and combat it in the adjacent area.”