“We always look for creative uses of asset forfeiture, and today I cannot think of a more meaningful way to use a significant amount of that money,” said Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.
The U.S. Justice Department estimates that 20-percent of child trafficking victims come through Houston. But Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia says while efforts to stop the illegal trade are ongoing, a similar effort must go to help victims.
We have a lot of work in front of us to do,” said Garcia. “There’s a lot of resources for victims of international human trafficking, but we need to raise the bar on victims of domestic human trafficking.”
A new partnership has been formed between the Sheriff’s Office and the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department to provide meaningful intervention.
Garcia presented the department a check for $300,000.
“We are putting the bad guys’ money to work in a most incredible way,” said Garcia. “We always look for creative uses of asset forfeiture, and today I cannot think of a more meaningful way to use a significant amount of that money.”
Probation Department Executive Director Tom Brooks says the money will improve therapeutic and social outcomes for victims.
“It’ll basically work with 24 girls at a time,” said Brooks. “There’s more interventions that are needed, hopefully earlier interventions, so that they’re not brought into the juvenile justice system. Unfortunately, the juvenile justice system has become the default, a place where they can actually get these services.”
Reports show that victims of human trafficking struggle to adjust after being freed from the sex trade. Some go back to their old life after being in state care.
Brooks says the program is designed to sway them in a different direction and to make better decisions.