Nonprofit, Law Enforcement Partner To Combat Human Trafficking During OTC

The annual event draws thousands of energy professionals to Houston, but some say that increases the risk of human trafficking.


Attorney Julie Waters speaking at podium
Attorney Julie Waters, founder of Free the Captives at an press conference in September of 2014 about online sex trafficking

Thousands of energy industry representatives are in Houston this week for the Offshore Technology Conference. But such large-scale events also raise the risk of sex trafficking, a major issue in Houston.

Julie Waters is founder of Free the Captives. The nonprofit is partnering with law enforcement to warn of potential legal consequences.

“When you have a large event like that, you see an uptick in sex trafficking because the traffickers know when you have that many people in town, you can make a lot of money,” Waters says.

High demand fuels the human trafficking industry in Houston, Waters says. She says partnering with Houston Police and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office sends a strong message.

“We’ve been able to bring greater awareness to this issue,” she says. “Law enforcement has been cracking down and arresting the men in droves.”

Volunteers with Free the Captives will team up with officers to distribute anti-human trafficking flyers to OTC attendees this evening.


Tomeka Weatherspoon

Senior Producer

Tomeka Weatherspoon is an Emmy-award winning producer. She produces segments, the weekly television program Arts InSight, the short film showcase The Territory and a forthcoming digital series on innovation. Originally from the Midwest, Tomeka studied convergence journalism from the world’s first journalism school at the University of Missouri. She has...

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