Human trafficking is happening in plain sight in Harris County...and now more bills have been signed into law to help fight it.
Approximately 35,000 Texas school children attend a school within 1,000 feet of an illegal massage business (IMB), and over 900,000 children attend school within a mile of one. With approximately 700 of these fronts for human trafficking and prostitution, Texas has the second-highest number of IMBs in the nation—second only to California—and the largest concentration of IMBs is in Harris County.
"There are more illegal massage human trafficking businesses in Houston than there are Starbucks. There are 198 Starbucks in our city and 330 open illegal massage businesses human trafficking operations," said Children at Risk President and CEO Dr. Bob Sanborn.
He said illegal massage parlors bring in more than $100 million a year with the busiest times being before work and lunch time.
"Across the city of Houston, every day about 3,000 men, Houston men buy sex at illegal massage business every single day," said Sanborn.
Children At Risk passed significant legislation to stop the proliferation of IMBs using Texas’ Deceptive Trade Practices Act. However, to-date these laws remain unused. The Consumer Protection Division (CPD) of the Texas Attorney General will address their plans to start bringing significant pressure to bear against IMBs using these new laws. At the press conference, Children At Risk and partners plan to bring attention to the need for cases to be prosecuted; ensure IMBs are liable for civil damages and provide injunctive relief to victims; and share how to file complaints with the CPD.