AUSTIN, Texas — Any Texans who may be concerned that an unlicensed massage business may be in operation near them, or believe nail salon employees may be human trafficking victims, may now report those concerns directly to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR).

All you have to do is email your concern to reportHT@tdlr.texas.gov.

The TDLR announced Friday it has a new eight-member anti-trafficking unit (ATU) working in conjunction with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate reports of suspected illicit massage businesses and possible human trafficking at nail salons in Texas.

“Human Trafficking Awareness Month is the perfect time to introduce this initiative. Our Anti-Trafficking Unit is ramping up, and the team members are anxious to get to work and help eliminate human trafficking in Texas,” said TDLR Executive Director Brian E. Francis. “We are grateful to the Texas Legislature for their confidence in our abilities and for funding new staff positions that concentrate solely on finding and helping potential victims.”

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On Jan. 11, Gov. Greg Abbott released a video on Twitter with his zero-tolerance message for the practices of human trafficking. 

"Texas will not tolerate the inhumane practice of human trafficking," Abbott tweeted. "Together, with the help of our brave law enforcement officers, we will end this heinous crime & deliver justice for survivors."

Since November 2018, TDLR has referred 65 possible human trafficking and criminal cases involving illicit massage businesses to local law enforcement agencies in 32 cities, according to a press release from the agency. TDLR said it had also referred cases to the Texas Attorney General’s office.

Here are the cities where TDLR has referred cases:

  • Arlington
  • Friendswood
  • Midland
  • Austin
  • Frisco
  • Nederland
  • Brownsville
  • Garland
  • Plainview
  • Cedar Park
  • Georgetown
  • Plano
  • Corpus Christi
  • Houston
  • Richardson
  • Cumby
  • Humble
  • Round Rock
  • Dallas
  • Katy
  • San Angelo
  • Denton
  • Killeen
  • San Antonio
  • El Paso
  • Kingwood
  • Spring
  • Flower Mound
  • Lewisville
  • Weatherford
  • Fort Worth
  • Lubbock

TDLR's anti-trafficking unit will integrate into the agency's already existing efforts, which include: 

  • Periodic, unannounced inspections of massage establishments and cosmetology salons by TDLR Field Inspection employees.
  • Aggressive prosecution of both licensed and unlicensed service providers by the TDLR Enforcement Division.

“TDLR employees are proud to fight against human trafficking in Texas. Part of that fight is protecting consumers from unregulated activity, and making sure Texans have a safe workplace environment free of these heinous crimes,” Francis said.

KVUE DEFENDERSTexas tops list for human trafficking cases

To report suspected human trafficking to Federal law enforcement, call 1-866-347-2423.

To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, call 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).

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