HOUSTON - The City of Houston is on a mission to stop human trafficking in its tracks!
"It is often said that Houston is the hub for sex trafficking," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner declared. "Let me just say that Houston will be the hub for the prevention and elimination of sex trafficking."
So, local officials are joining the mayor in rolling out a new anti-human trafficking campaign to fight back.
"And we're not just doing it for the Super Bowl," Turner said. "We're doing it for everyday Houstonians and for people who visit our city."
The Harris County District Attorney's office says it's handled over 1,700 human trafficking cases since February 2013 alone.
"The reality is that human trafficking victims are subtly hidden in plain sight," Harris County D.A. Devon Anderson shared.
The D.A. says human trafficking does not just involve extreme cases where individuals are locked up in cellars. "Victims are not held in physical captivity, rather they are held by emotion and psychological restraints," she added.
Part of the new strategy to fight trafficking in Houston involves educating cab drivers so they can report suspicious behavior.
"During OTC, more than 9,000 text blasts and nearly 4,000 emails were sent to our active drivers," Melissa McGehee, general manager of Yellow Cab, stated. "And we will continue to do this during major events, leading up to Super Bowl."
The campaign's website, "Watch for Traffick.org" will help individuals learn more about the problem and how to help fight it.
As Mayor Turner summed up, "If it's one person, it's one person too many-- especially when we are talking about our children."