Lubbock police saving human trafficking victims with help from Voice of Hope
They attribute the success to a new partnership with Voice of Hope and recent legislation changes
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Earlier this month, Lubbock police arrested 16 people for solicitation of a prostitute within Lubbock city limits. This was the first sting operation since Texas increased charges for it, making it a felony.
Previously, solicitation of a prostitute was a misdemeanor. Police staff say, through these changes, as well as a recent partnership with Voice of Hope, they are identifying true victims of sex trafficking.
“Prostitutes are often times human trafficking victims, and so the escalation of this legislation allows for harsher punishment for johns, i.e. people who are taking part in that human trafficking,” says Kasie Whitley, the Public Information Officer for the Lubbock Police Department.
Whitley says, through the department’s recent partnership with Voice of Hope, a local agency dedicated to helping trafficking victims through case management and support, victims can get the help and resources they need.
“The goal is to allow human trafficking victims a chance to get out, get help, and start a new life for themselves.”
During this month’s arrests, Voice of Hope representatives worked alongside Lubbock officers to provide immediate aid to victims.
“Officers were able to put those human trafficking victims in immediate contact with representatives from Voice of Hope, in order to get them the resources needed to maybe take that first step in being able to put their life back together.”
Solicitation of prostitution is now a state jail felony, and is punishable by up to two years detention. If you know anyone who is trapped in human trafficking, call the police or call the Voice of Hope hotline at (806) 763-RAPE (7273).
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