AUSTIN, Texas — The state of Texas has some work to do when it comes to human trafficking, according to a report from The Human Trafficking Institute.
The report, released Tuesday, shows Texas ranked first in the nation for the number of criminal cases that wound their way through federal courts last year. Of those 74 cases, 68 involved sex trafficking and six involved labor trafficking.
Texas also ranked first for the number of new criminal human trafficking cases in 2018 with 19 initiated cases. That's well above the national average of five new cases per state or territory.
Of the new criminal cases, the report shows Texas initiated two criminal labor trafficking cases last year, making Texas one of only seven states or territories to initiate a new labor trafficking prosecution.
Texas also topped the list for the number of convictions in human trafficking cases in 2018 with 45 convicted defendants. The national average is seven convictions per state or territory, the report shows.
Last year, the state ordered six defendants who were convicted to pay restitution to their victims, ranking Texas third in the nation for the number of restitution orders.
The report states that, nationally, there were 680 active criminal human trafficking cases that involved 1,217 active defendants that made their way through the U.S. federal court system. Of those, 171 were new criminal cases initiated in 2018 by the federal government in 36 different states and territories.
Last year, federal courts convicted 346 defendants in criminal human trafficking cases. Of the defendants convicted in cases involving at least one trafficking victim, federal courts ordered 97 of them to pay restitution despite the fact that restitution is mandatory under the federal human trafficking statute.
With the exception of American Samoa, Guam, the Virgin Islands and Wyoming, federal courts in every state and territory handled at least one active criminal human trafficking case last year. A total of 19 states and territories did not initiate a single new criminal human trafficking prosecution, and 48 states and territories convicted at least one defendant in a criminal human trafficking case.
According to The Human Trafficking Institute, the report's findings are not a prevalent estimate of human trafficking across the U.S. Instead, it is intended to serve as an objective summary of what the federal justice system has done to hold traffickers accountable.
The institute compiled this information through an examination of public court documents in human trafficking cases, as well as a detailed review of news stories and agency press releases.
To download the full report, click here.
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: