Campaign urges citizens to report suspicious activity to national hotline
June 3, 2014 -- Today, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Governor Rick Perry joined by local, state and federal officials and community partners launched the statewide Texans United Against Human Trafficking campaign.
It is spearheaded by United Against Human Trafficking, a nonprofit organization, and is designed to inform citizens about how to recognize the signs of human trafficking and urge them to report suspicious activity to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) Hotline.
Mayor Parker, Governor Perry and community partners unveiled the campaign billboards, which are in English and Spanish. Unite Against Human Trafficking...Let them be heard is the campaign slogan, and the national hotline toll-free number is 1-888-3737-888.
"Human trafficking is a crime that impacts communities around the world," said Mayor Parker. "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. Today, we stand together, united against modern day slavery in our city and in all cities across our state. This campaign urges all Houstonians and all Texans to become part of the solution. If you suspect human trafficking, report it to the national hotline."
In Texas, Houston ranks highest in human trafficking calls to the NHTRC Hotline. According to NHTRC, of 436 potential human trafficking cases reported to the hotline from Texas, 144 originated in the Houston area. Factors contributing to the high incidence of human trafficking in Houston include the extensive network of major interstate highways that cut through the city, the presence of a huge international port and the region's close proximately to U.S.-Mexico border points of entry.
Human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing crime worldwide. Since NHTRC began its hotline operations in December 2007, it has received over 110,000 calls. Of these, 9,500 came from Texas, representing over 1,500 potential cases of human trafficking.
About the Campaign
The Texans United Against Human Trafficking campaign will project educational messages in English and Spanish encouraging citizens to report human trafficking tips to the NHTRC Hotline at 1-888-3737-888. The campaign materials consist of billboards placed at locations throughout Houston and across the state donated by the Outdoor Advertising Association of Texas and member companies, Clear Channel Outdoor and Lamar Advertising. Public service ads will appear on Houston area Yellow Cabs and METRO buses and at area shopping malls. The ads will promote the NHTRC Hotline and the Polaris Project's texting code "BeFree" (233733). In addition, public service announcements will be aired on Univision TV, Univision Radio and Clear Channel owned radio stations.
Campaign Partners and Supporters
Campaign partners, sponsors and supporters are as follows: State of Texas Governor Rick Perry, City of Houston Mayor Annise Parker, U.S. Congressman Ted Poe, Texas State Representative-District 141 Senfronia Thompson, Texas Department of Transportation, United Against Human Trafficking, Houston Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance, Polaris Project, Outdoor Advertising Association of Texas, Clear Channel Outdoor, Lamar Advertising, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Attorney's Office-Southern District, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Department of State-Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General, Harris County District Attorney's Office, Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff's Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, YMCA International, Catholic Charities, Crime Stoppers of Houston, Houston Yellow Cab and Metropolitan Transit Authority.
The City's participation in the campaign is being coordinated by the Department of Neighborhoods Office of International Communities under the guidance of the Mayor's Human Trafficking Task Force. For more information, visit www.houstontx.gov/oic.
To learn more about human trafficking, visit www.houstonrr.org.