On September 4th, the Harris County Sheriff's Office gave the Juvenile Probation Department a check for $300,000 in an effort to help victims of child trafficking. Houston is often called a hub for trafficking victims, both domestic and international, but to no one's surprise, these numbers are far ... More >>
When it comes to apps, I have a great appreciation for simplicity. Often, the most powerful ones are also the easiest to use and understand. If I need to be an engineer to find what I need when I tap an icon on my phone, chances are that app won't remain on my phone for long. After all, this is a ti ... More >>
A Mexican national notorious for trafficking women in the Houston area landed in the U.S. yesterday and will face charges from the U.S. Attorney's Office relating to his smuggling of women. Gerardo Salazar, 47, of Mexico City, arrived in Houston yesterday after being arrested in Mexico. He will mak ... More >>
"Human trafficking is a crime that impacts communities around the world. Unfortunately, in the U.S., our state ranks second in number of calls to the human trafficking hotline, next to California, and most of the calls from Texas come from Houston," Mayor Annise Parker said today at a gathering of l ... More >>
In all likelihood, it was ranchera music playing, and not a Donna Summer classic when a squad of law enforcement officials stormed a cantina called Lolita's Bar, an alleged front for prostitution, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office. The sting was dubbed "Operation Last Dance," in a vi ... More >>
A look at the sex-trafficking myth.
It's the face of everyday Houston. The local nail salon worker, the guy toiling every afternoon on a construction site, the server at a local cantina, there's a possibility they could all be victims of human trafficking. At least that was part of the message being delivered at Rice University's immi ... More >>
Usually, when someone is smuggled into the country they pay a fee to a coyote. When they are forced here to work, or to pay off a debt with their labor it becomes trafficking. Sometimes it's not clear which one it is until all the facts come to light. And that decision will soon get made after au ... More >>
The Harris County Sheriff's Office managed to round up 61 people in a prostitution sting over the course of last week including nine women (alleged prostitutes) and 48 men on prostitution charges and four others on various charges including drug possession and driving without a license. One of the m ... More >>
There are lots of things not to like about so-called Sexually Oriented Businesses (SOBs) in Houston. They are seedy. They are promoting an atmosphere that is certainly not conducive to quality treatment of women. Then there's the general "ew" factor that accompanies anything of that nature. But, the ... More >>
City decides to go along to get along with Houston's strip clubs.
According to the Twitter feed of Janice Evans, the Director of Communications for Mayor Annise Parker, the city signed a deal today that will allow "gentleman's" clubs to go topless again and allow lap dances previously prevented by the three-foot rule. The deal includes provisions for the creation ... More >>
Remember when Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, said he was just a banker doing "God's work"? That statement was both false and borderline blasphemous. Some folks who are actually doing the lord's work are the people at Polaris Project, an NGO, which started The National Human Trafficking Resou ... More >>
When most Americans think of slavery, their minds almost immediately revert to the Civil War and the antebellum South. Slavery is a vestige of the past to us. However, as the 2013 Global Slavery Index sadly shows, slavery is still very real to people all over the world. There are nearly 30 million ... More >>
Erica Raggett always dreamed of opening a coffee shop. Every time she walked into one, she scouted the place -- sometimes aware, sometimes subconsciously. Whether as a Teach for America instructor in a north Houston middle school, or while she spent time in Philadelphia as a TFA administrator, or af ... More >>
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina not only almost destroyed New Orleans and wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast. The hurricane may also have opened the door for human trafficking for one company, according to lawsuits filed in Texas and Mississippi on Tuesday. The swathe of destruction Hurricane Katrina cut ... More >>
A lot of strange press releases come sailing through your inbox when you are working for a news paper or news blog in the big city. Some are mildly amusing, some hilarious. Some are disturbing, some disgusting. Then, some are all of the above and more. The U.S. Attorney's Office sent a release out ... More >>
Dancers from Treasures implored a state administrative judge today to renew the club's liquor permit and dismiss the city's protests. (No ruling has been issued yet.) The dancers -- some of whom said they were single mothers and small business owners -- told State Office of Administrative Hearings ... More >>
Indianapolis mobilizes for an epic battle with an urban legend.
Village Voice Media asks for your support
There has been much discussion of sex trafficking, and much doling out of federal dollars to groups pledged to fight it. What there hasn't been a lot of is a close determination of the actual extent of the phenomenon, as opposed to widely accepted tales of countless girls coerced into prosti ... More >>
Ashton Kutcher needs a fact-checker.It's called "moral panic," and it's the kind of urban legend people like Ashton Kutcher cite when he told Piers Morgan two months ago in an nterview that 100,000 to 300,000 kids are forced into underage sex trafficking every year in America. In March, Vill ... More >>
Headed behind bars.The last defendant in the cases surrounding La Potra, a Houston bar accused of being the center of drug- and sex-trafficking, was sentenced to three years in federal prison. Wilson Sauzo, 29, was convicted on cocaine-running charges. Four others involved in the case were ... More >>
CNN, USA Today, and other media organizations got fooled.
The great American game is another chance to foist false research on a gullible media
Schapiro Group data wasn't questioned by mainstream media.
U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno announced two indictments this afternoon.U.S Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today an indictment against ten defendants allegedly involved in a human trafficking ring at a local nightclub and restaurant. The defendants, who include the owners and several ... More >>
A sign that won't be seen at the Super BowlHuman trafficking is a major problem in Texas, which is why Linda Geffin, chief of the Harris County Attorney's Special Prosecution Unit, will be giving people the 411 on The Today Show Thursday. "Houston serves as a destination for victims of traffickin ... More >>
Not the kind of traffic the FBI is talking about.In Houston, when we think of traffic, we think of road construction and car accidents and general gridlock. It's annoying, but generally not life threatening.The FBI, on the other hand, deals with trafficking...of the human variety and Friday they ... More >>
Know the 'red flags'Did you know that blacked-out or barred windows and 24-hour massage parlors are "red flags" that human trafficking may be afoot? Nor did we.If you want to heighten your human trafficking awareness, all you need to do is hop on a bus with the Houston Rescue & Restore Coalit ... More >>
In this week's feature, a man named Steve Morrison was hit in his car and killed by Rosa Villegas-Vatres, a legal immigrant from El Salvador. Villegas-Vatres was allowed to stay here through the T visa program, which was founded about nine years ago by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft as a too ... More >>
An afternoon of emotion with Ad Deum Dance Company
Four years ago, Ronnie Presley jammed a gun in the face of a teen-aged girl walking down the street in Kansas, pulled her into his car and drove her to Houston. There, he forced her to have sex for money. Every dime she earned went into Presley's pocket. As time went by, Presley threatened to hur ... More >>
Jo Frederiksen of The Woodlands has joined the ever-growing number of women who claim they were sexually abused and harassed in Iraq under the watch of their former employer, Halliburton's Kellogg Brown & Root. She recently filed a lawsuit in Harris County District Court against the company. ... More >>
Harris County, be proud -- you're a leader in...well, in human trafficking. Maybe you shouldn't be so proud, on second thought. Texas AG Greg Abbott released a lengthy report today on human trafficking in Texas, and the news isn't too good. Up to 17,500 people are brought into the US as victims of ... More >>
Nova Arts Project examines rape and sadism
The mayor was threatened -- or maybe he wasn't