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Human Sex Trafficking and Police Technology: An Issue of the Past or Present?


High chances are that human sex traffickers widely understand technology as a propagator of criminal activities. In an attempt to discover this truth, the paper provides an introduction that describes human sex trafficking before taking a specific approach of understanding the vice in Houston, Texas.

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The paper also discovers the extent to which human sex trafficking is an ongoing process since the 1980s in different parts of America. Further, it highlights law enforcement and police technology as drivers of change in dealing with the vice. Finally, it discusses both areas of success and failure in adopting the practices before providing recommendations in relation to criminal justice.


In the 18th century up until recently, most countries strived to eliminate the culture of racism and slavery. Most societies succeeded in ending slave trade physically, but it became difficult to end the activity psychologically, allowing it culminate into different inhumane acts. Human sex trafficking is an outcome of a similar mindset that normally exposes young girls and women into business-related sexual abuse instances or manipulations.

The criminal justice unit incorporates different federal statutes and police technology to curb the vice, and to promote basic human rights. According to McGough (2013), the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established that trafficked women are usually vulnerable and immature, but they only move forcefully to another country with an intention to earn a living in a decent manner.

It becomes impossible for them to find their way back home when their hosts confiscate their travel documents while leaving them with no alternative due to lack of familiarity with the new environment. This paper discusses human trafficking in Houston, Texas among other states while giving credit to law enforcement and police technology as ways of dealing with traffickers (Hughes, 2014).

Human Sex Trafficking in Houston, Texas

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center and the US DHS rank Houston as the state that primarily violates the principles of human sex non-trafficking. According to the two departments, the reports held by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) understate the number of victims of the vice.

Houston, Texas stands out as the county that accommodates the highest number of human sex traffickers while Texas State is the second most popular child trafficking destination in the US. Police investigations reveal shocking information concerning business sexual manipulation in Houston. Most of the events are due to an increase in internet activities, massage parlors, strip clubs, brothels, and male pimps among other activities (Field, 2013).

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In Houston alone, about 213 brothels operate openly, making it difficult to ensure closure and stop people from visiting the facilities. The US Department of Justice affirms that the society cannot rely on information from the FBI since the department under quoted the number of brothels in the recent past (Larson, 2014). However, this number is increasing very fast.

Other contributing factors to an increase in the rate of human sex trafficking in Houston are its proximity to Mexico and Honduras commonly known for both sex and labor-force trafficking. In addition, most immigrants from Mexico and Honduras settle in Houston, Texas carrying along the culture to the county (Larson, 2014).

The demographic makeup of immigrants from different parts of the world naturally creates an environment in which people can participate in illegal activities while evading jurisdiction. Markedly, Houston also has a large population that is difficult to manage – a blend of cultures from Asia, Hispanic, Mexico, Honduras, and the Middle East. In essence, most of them went to Houston through illegal means with a promise of well-paying jobs, but ended up as victims of labor or sex trafficking (Hughes, 2014).

Law enforcement in Houston is exceptionally difficult because of the diverse nature of the Texan population comprising of immigrant labor-force. Police technology strives at curbing human sex trafficking through the establishment of Toll Free National Trafficking Hotlines through which people can contact the FBI in case they want to report a crime of similar magnitude (Cox, McCamey, & Scaramella, 2013). Even with the numerous arrests by the FBI, human sex trafficking saga continues. Latest reports indicate the arrest of about 14 human sex traffickers and sexual abusers of underage girls. Shockingly, some of them paid huge sums of money amounting to $500 for an hour spent with an underage girl (Larson, 2014).

Criminal Justice

Police Technology

Under the 81st Texas State Legislature, House Bill 4009 supports the provision of a searchable catalogue that profiles different identified smugglers and creation of award schemes to anyone who provides leading information for the FBI to achieve a similar end (Lloyd, 2011). Such databases should provide online training programs of identification of victims, pimps, and smugglers since this protects the lives of the victims and the informants.

However, people fear reporting cases of human sex trafficking since barons operate the industry; they are likely to harm the informants. The database offers an anonymous platform for data sharing while leading to the arrest of known perpetrators of human sex trafficking in Dallas and Texas. According to the Department of Justice, cybercrime supports sexual manipulation because it exposes children to pedophiles, sexual enticements, pornography, and pimps (Lloyd, 2011).

By regulating internet use in Houston, the county could succeed in reducing the growing number of victims of sex tourism (Rand & Truman, 2010). Few regulations have been put in place to control internet usage since the US Navy only succeeds to control a small portion of the roaming network, while leaving the rest to natural and unexplainable procedures.

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Measures put in place to regulate the internet, thus, are far futile, but the FBI and the DHS work tirelessly to ensure that few people manage to cross the Dallas border into Houston. Through the virtual network (USVISIT), the DHS manages to deal with illegal immigrants even though hitches still exist. The problem with technology is that both the FBI and the human sex traffickers use the platform either to propagate or to curb the crime.

Law Enforcement

The federal law forbids recruiting, keeping, smuggling, transporting, or offering people to forced labor or sexual exploitation. Federal statutes including the Senate Bill 707 of the 81st Texas State Legislature suggest that there should be proper identification of different businesses conducted by people in the state in order to single out illegal activities, such as child trafficking for sexual abuse.

Equally, the Senate Bill 24 of the 82nd Texas State Legislature opposes endorsement of prostitution and forceful sexual exploitation for young girls. Acceding to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, sex trafficking occurs when a smuggler forces a vulnerable underage to participate in sexual activities in order to earn the trafficker money without the consent of the victim (Mitchell, Finkelhor, & Wolak, 2010).

The traffickers use emotional exploitation to influence the victims into going to a foreign country with the promise of offering the preys jobs or good lives. While adhering to the principles of the Senate Bill 2014, the FBI, Federal, and State Law Implementation Bureaus began a public campaign to identify renowned child traffickers in Houston.

Through the social media, billboards, and public service crusades, the organizations strive to deal with the criminals, any language that supports human sex trafficking, and any behavior likely to promote the vice. In a recent turn of events, the Senate established that few people report cases of human sex trafficking because they lack empowerment. As a response to the problem, the Juvenile Probation Department sought to provide empowerment in relation to identification of human sex traffickers, channels of reporting crime, and identification of victims (Larson, 2014).


Empowerment of Houston residents should be the first step in ensuring that the criminal justice unit works effectively. According to reports, the local, state law enforcement units, and the FBI work singlehandedly to curb crime. Nonetheless, inability to incorporate the public who know the smugglers well interferes with administration of justice. Secondly, police technology should ensure that informants have the ability to report human sex trafficking crimes while under protection (Farrell et al., 2012).

Traffickers are propagators of cybercrime; they perfectly understand how to get the informants in one way or the other. Before using the databases for profile identification, it is important to maintain contact with internet service providers, and ICT gurus in protecting informants and victims (Rand & Truman, 2010). Finally, the DHS should actively play the role of reducing trafficking cases because it will be impossible for illegal immigrants to get into Houston through Dallas when the DHS is in control of the virtual network.


In retrospect, human sex trafficking is an offense as well as a crime that requires legal punishment. The federal law supports the legal approach to handling such crimes, but occasionally supports measures such as issuance of awards to apprehend human traffickers. Police technology seems to be a viable solution to the problem, but much emphasis should be on the continued intellectual activities by traffickers in manipulating young girls.

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Cox, S. M., McCamey, W. P., & Scaramella, G. L., (2013). Introduction to Policing. New York: Sage Publishing.

Farrell, A., McDevitt, J., Pfeffer, R., Fahy, S., Owens, C., Dank, M., & Adams, W. (2012). Identifying Challenges to Improve the Investigation and Prosecution of State and Local Human Trafficking Cases. Web.

Field, G. (2013). Escape from Paradise. New York: Gwendolyn Fields.

Hughes, D. M. (2014). Trafficking in Human Beings in the European Union Gender, Sexual Exploitation, and Digital Communication Technologies. Web.

Larson, J. (2014). Texas ranks high in number of human trafficking victims. Web.

Lloyd, R. (2011). Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself. New York, NY: Harper Collin.

McGough, M. Q. (2013). Ending Modern-Day Slavery: Using Research to Inform U.S. Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts. NIJ Journal, 271(9), 26-32.

Mitchell, K. J., Finkelhor, D., & Wolak, J. (2010). Conceptualizing Juvenile Prostitution as Child Maltreatment: Findings from the National Juvenile Prostitution Study. Child Maltreatment, 15(1), 18-36. Web..

Rand, M., & Truman, J. (2010). Criminal Victimization, 2009. Web.

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