Human trafficking – one of those ugly “inconvenient truths” from which many avert their gaze – is getting a high profile treatment from a human rights organization that speaks on behalf of indigent residents of the Texas borderlands.
Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid (TRLA), headquartered at Weslaco, Texas, focuses attention in the legal system on victims of domestic violence, elderly abuse, migrant farm workers, and displaced workers who cannot afford traditional representation. But Candice April Lown, TRLA human trafficking outreach coordinator, has taken on a nearly imponderable challenge because her workload cannot be quantified, nor can success rates be verified. Lown’s task is to educate.
“In Texas, trafficking is so clandestine that no one knows any real numbers of victims. And internationally, there are only guesses,” Lown lamented, Tuesday (Jan. 13). In 2002, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft – in a Justice Department (DOJ) press release – estimated that 45,000 to 50,000 immigrants were “trafficked” into the United States where they “are trapped in modern-day slavery-like situations such as forced prostitution.”
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