A study by sociology Lecturer Brittany Smith on juvenile victims of commercial sex trafficking shows an odd combination: an increase in numbers is a good thing.
In May 2009, seven juvenile victims of commercial sex trafficking had been identified in Fort Worth. By September, that figure had risen to 17.
“That increase means that law enforcement is doing a better job of identifying these young victims and helping them get the services they need,” Smith says. “So the increased number is actually good news.”
Smith evaluated progress in implementing the recommendations made in an extensive national study published by nonprofit Shared Hope International in September 2008.
The Shared Hope study focused on 11 major metropolitan areas, including Fort Worth. Tarrant County Juvenile Services had identified 25 youths as victims of sex trafficking since 2000. The children had been brought into the juvenile justice system for prostitution, although they were almost always controlled by a trafficker or pimp.
Read the study for more information.