Beaumont — Law enforcement across southeast Texas are cracking down on human trafficking cases.
In 2019 there were 10 cases of human trafficking in Beaumont. That number jumped to 19 in 2020. This year alone, there’s been 18 cases. Chris Schuldt, Beaumont Police Department Captain. says those number are eye-opening and disturbing, but says the department has seen an increase because they’re better able to identify the signs.
“It doesn’t mean its happening more often now than it did back then, it just means we’re doing a better job of catching,” said Schuldt.
More often than not, trafficking involves minors, according to police. Schuldt says much of how trafficking is done now has moved online.
“This year alone, we’ve had 37,000 ads posted on the web to solicit sex for money. Of those, about 5000 are suspected to be juveniles, which is totally unacceptable,” added Schuldt.
Craig Cummings, Texas Department of Public Safety Lieutenant, has seen trafficking first-hand. He’s one of the many troopers called out to help with the migrant surge at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Human smuggling and human trafficking is often an invisible crime. It’s often hard to detect,” said Cummings.
Cummings says what happens at the border has a direct impact in other Texas communities.
“You got international human traffickers that’s coming up from the border. By securing the border, we lessen the chances of these individuals coming in,” added Cummings.
Beaumont police is working with several agencies and organizations across the region in effort to put an end to trafficking.
Written by Rocio De La Fe