Two years in the making, more than 120 people from multiple Brazos County agencies have finalized operating procedures for a joint task force addressing children who are victims of sex trafficking.
District attorney Jarvis Parsons says this is a pro-active step before this becomes a problem in Brazos County.
Parsons says the focus has changed with dealing with five through 18 year old victims who get into the law enforcement and justice systems.
More than 120 people have been involved in the task force. They represent Brazos County law enforcement agencies, victim services groups, medical providers, and prosecutors.
Parsons says the majority of children who are found in local trafficking are not from Brazos County. But he says the recent arrests of nine people in a sting operation is an example of the local demand for the illegal contact.
Task force members got together at the Brazos Center for each agency to sign a memorandum of understanding memorializing their protocols.
Parsons says the event was also held to publicize their work as a deterrent.
Click below for comments from Jarvis Parsons, visiting with WTAW’s Bill Oliver:
News release from the Brazos County district attorney’s office:
On January 31st at 3 p.m., local Brazos County agencies in partnership with Governor’s Office Child Sex Trafficking Team will publicly commemorate the formation of a task force and protocols to respond to the
commercial sexual exploitation of children within our community.
The protocols are built around some of the following guiding principles:
1. Raising awareness to identify and prevent the sexual exploitation of youth.
2. Meeting survivors with compassion at every step of their restoration.
3. Creating a trusting network of partners to provide an effective and consistent response to exploited youth.
Over the past two years, the Brazos County District Attorneys Office, along with the Office of the Governor and Scotty’s House held multiple summit meetings at the Brazos Center with the purpose of engaging the community on the problem of human trafficking. These summits focused on identifying the signs of sex trafficking in survivors who may present to local law enforcement, hospitals, hotels, schools and any other businesses in Brazos County.
After these initial meetings, Brazos County direct responders and service providers began a workgroup to develop the Brazos County Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Youth Care Coordination Group to develop protocol that would outline the measures our County will take when we become aware of a child that may be a sex trafficking victim.
These protocols will help to quickly get survivors the services they need to heal and restore their lives; and it will aid law enforcement and prosecution by increasing the speed of communication and response across all areas in Brazos County where a victim may come into contact with the community.
Representatives of the Brazos County District Attorneys Office, Scotty’s House Child Advocacy Center, Unbound Bryan College Station (CSEY Victim Service Provider), Child Protective Services, The Department of Public Safety, Brazos County Juvenile Services, the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, College Station Police Department, Bryan Police Department, Texas A&M University Police Department and Baylor Scott and White Hospital worked together to develop comprehensive protocols for their agencies in the event they come into contact with a victim of commercial sexual exploitation.
Each agency will sign the Memorandum of Understanding memorializing these protocols on January 31st at 3 p.m. at the Brazos Center.