Emails (excerpted), Dawn Lew, staff attorney, Children at Risk, Jan. 16 and Jan. 21, 2014
Jan 16, 2014
I was able to locate the publication date of the report: September 16, 2009. I was able to figure out the 25% statistic. It appears that the sentence you are referring to in our publication, “In the last quarter of 2007, 30% of the calls received by the National Human Trafficking Hotline originated in Texas and 25% of all international victims certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were located in Texas,” should have been split into two separate sentences. The part referring to the last quarter of 2007 only refers to the phone calls to the hotline, and not the certification statistic. The 25% number came from U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Rescue and Restore campaign Results, April 2004 thru January 2006.
Here is a link to information about the certification: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/resource/who-we-serve-victims-of-human-trafficking. It summarizes eligibility requirements.
Yes, I believe that states are under-calculating the number of trafficking victims. This is because it is difficult and nearly impossible to quantify the true number of victims. Why? Because victims often don’t self-identify as victims, some are misidentified and charged as criminals for related offenses (drugs, criminal trespass, etc.), and others, due to the clandestine nature of human trafficking, are hiding in plain sight and may never encounter law enforcement or social service providers. In addition, although human trafficking has always existed, until recently, not all states even had a state law on human trafficking, which contributes to the lack of information at the state level on the number of victims identified, traffickers convicted, etc. Certification numbers are some of the only concrete data that we have with respect to the number of human trafficking victims in each state, and it’s clear that many of the victims are being certified from Texas. Again, keep in mind that certification only captures a percentage of international victims, and does not include domestic victims at all. So the problem in Texas, as in most every state, is larger.
Our contact at HHSC is searching for more recent percentages for Texas (it looks like 2007 might be the most recent). I will be sure to pass along this information if we receive it from Caitriona Lyons.
Please let me know if you’d like more information in the meantime. Were you able to get in touch with Maria Trujillo or Polaris Project?
CHILDREN AT RISK
Jan. 21, 2014
. I did find a summary of the 2002 Anti-Trafficking Report to Congress, and the percentage of certifications from Texas was a bit higher in 2002:
Victims were located throughout the United States. Certification/eligibility letters were sent to benefit-issuing offices in 14 states. The largest concentrations of victims were located in Texas (31.3%), Florida (19.2%), and California (14.1%).