It is one of the saddest facts we face in Harris County; Houston leads the nation in human trafficking and is the largest staging area for smugglers in the Southwest. Equally tragic is the fact that domestic victims are as numerous as the undocumented victims enslaved by traffickers engaged in a variety of sordid ‘businesses’ for profit.
Human Trafficking, the black market, and the local underworld engage sophisticated criminal gangs and cartel-supported middlemen. Ogg’s plan is for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to provide support to a countywide gang task force that will zero in on the actual operators and enforcers. A dedicated unit of prosecutors will be created and funded in order to prioritize prosecution of organized crime leaders.
Simultaneously, human trafficking victims will be aided by a Crime Victim’s Unit within the District Attorney’s Office, and if their victimization includes sexual abuse, their cases will be handled by seasoned, trained prosecutors assigned to the Sex Crimes Division.
Ogg’s plan would include cooperative civil cases brought by the Harris County Attorney and City of Houston Attorney when civil litigation best serves public safety by engaging the property owners where illicit ‘businesses’ are located. Partnerships with non-profit organizations service organizations helping human trafficking victims will be encouraged.