young girls trafficked for sex frequently are sold in TABC licensed establishments
The Department of Homeland Security is now working with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, to try to go after underage girls, and some boys, who are smuggled into the U.S. as 'sex slaves,' 1200 WOAI news reports.
"In my eyes, conducting these investigations are something that has real merit, and that's why we're partnering up with some of these agencies," Jerry Robinette, Special Agent in Charge of the San Antonio Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told 1200 WOAI news.
Sex trafficking has just begun getting attention from media and law enforcement, but is a major problem, especially in Texas. The same smuggling gangs which smuggle drugs and illegal immigrants across the border are moving into an even more lucrative field--smuggling girls as young as eight to be 'sold' to customers in the United States for sexual activity.
Robinette says much of these activity takes place in bars and in other licenses premises, so that is where the connection with TABC is so useful.
"To try and get them to be our eyes and ears for these types of scenarios," he said.
Robinette said TABC officers are often in bars, and their routine presence makes it easier for them to keep a look out for things that doesn't appear right, like girls hanging around who appear to be under aged. He says when ICE conducts a major 'raid,' the girls are frequently whisked away.
"We have not only found trafficking victims, but we have found individuals who we know are there to be prostitutes," he said.
The sexual trafficking of very young people is one of the most gruesome side effects of the massive drug smuggling operations built up over time by the major drug cartels.
The smugglers will frequently entice young people with offers of jobs and other perks in the United States, and when they arrive in Texas they are told that they will have to work as 'sex slaves' to 'work off the costs of their transpiration' into the U.S. Frequently, they are told that their families back home will be killed if they don't work as sex slaves in the U.S.
Experts say young people are 'rented out' for sexual activity as much as 12 times per day.