Sex trafficking involves transporting, recruiting, harboring, enticing, providing, or otherwise obtaining a person for commercial sex. Trafficking of an adult involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion. For children under 18, force, fraud, or coercion does not need to be shown. Sex trafficking primarily occurs in escort services, illicit massages, and pornography.
In 2020, when many businesses and industries slowed down due to COVID-19, human trafficking flourished. In 2020, 1.6 million online commercial sex advertisements were posted in Texas, and 223,910 of those are believed to have sold children.
Although there are many factors that make a person vulnerable to victimization, substance abuse and runaway youth are the top two factors making a young person vulnerable to sex trafficking. In surveying a diverse range of organizations serving trafficking victims in the state, these organizations estimated that of the trafficking they encountered approximately 30% was sex trafficking of children under 18. Thirty-five percent of that was reported as international sex trafficking.