Dallas CASA in the Wilson Historic District was buzzing with activity on Thursday, January 17. With Ruthie’s Rolling Café out front serving up its renowned grilled cheese sandwiches, the North Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking’s Champion of Freedom Award celebrated the Dallas and Fort Worth police departments’ efforts. Here’s a report from the field:
The North Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking presented the Champion of Freedom Award to the Dallas and Fort Worth police departments at Dallas CASA. The departments were honored for their work combatting human trafficking. Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall and the Dallas Police Department’s High Risk Trafficking Unit, and Fort Worth Police Assistant Chief Ed Kraus with the Fort Worth Police Department’s Major Case Unit, Trafficking Detail were on hand to receive the awards.
Each addressed their department’s commitment to fight human trafficking and support victims. Dallas DA John Creuzot and State Representative Morgan Meyer also addressed the group. Since 2011, the coalition has been fighting the growing problem of human and sex trafficking in the North Texas area.
According to the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault at the University of Texas, human trafficking affects 313,000 Texans, including 79,000 children. Texas ranks second in human trafficking in the United States, behind only California. In 2018, Dallas police handled 120 human trafficking cases, made 19 felony arrest and recovered 63 victims. In 2018, Fort Worth police worked 63 trafficking cases, with 17 suspects going to jail. Fort Worth police recovered 21 victims, including 13 juveniles.
The coalition also awarded a college scholarship to a survivor of human trafficking provided with funds raised by the Fraternal Order of Eagles and the Hotel Association.
* Photo provided by Dallas CASA