Texas Tribune investigated one of the more dire aspects of the state’s crumbling child welfare system — victims of sex trafficking.
One report estimates about 313,000 Texans are victims of human trafficking, about 80,000 of them minor and youth victims of sex trafficking. About 78,000 of those victims had some contact with the child welfare system, says the University of Texas at Austin study.
The Tribune investigation illustrated how the child welfare system fails some children, allowing them to become prey to sex traffickers. It laid out pertinent and reasonable solutions legislators should consider for fixing this atrocious cycle of crime and abuse.
The solutions rightfully focus on victim rehabilitation, decriminalization and prevention, something sorely missing from the state’s current strategy to stop sex trafficking.
Officials focus on arresting pimps, reasoning if there aren’t any sex traffickers, then children won’t fall prey.
This logic might sound reasonable, but it misses a major point. The state Child Protective Services agency is so damaged and unsafe that kids are slipping through the cracks to find better living options.
No child should ever be in the position that a pimp is the most appealing option for housing and food.The justice system should be the last resort by which society deals with frightened, abandoned kids from broken homes. Instead, according to these reports, some of them consider prostitution a better option than the ones the state has given them.