The Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office created the Human Trafficking Task Force in 2013. Human Trafficking is best described as modern day slavery. This unit prosecutes those accused of exploiting adults who are made to engage in sex or labor by force, fraud or coercion, and children who are made to engage in sex by any means. In most circumstances, the victims are Bexar County children exploited by Bexar County citizens.
“Our children are not for sale,” said District Attorney Nico LaHood. “We must fight and defeat those who would dare to sell them, and those who buy them.”
A case that served as a “wake-up” call in San Antonio, involved brothers Bobby and Juan Moreno. In December 2007, the brothers held a 13-year-old girl captive for weeks, injecting her with drugs and selling her for sex out of an east side home. Both brothers were tried separately, convicted and are serving life without the possibility of parole.
According to the Alamo Area Coalition Against Trafficking, the following are potential signs a child may be a victim of trafficking:
The child is a chronic runaway
Changes in the child’s attendance habits at school
Changes in the child’s apparent economic circumstances (new clothes, purses, manicures, etc.)
Changes in the child’s interests (no longer interested in sports, extra-curricular activities)
Changes in the child’s vocabulary, manner and demeanor
Changes in physical appearance or unexplained injuries
Types of Crimes Prosecuted by the Human Trafficking Task Force:
Human Trafficking of a Child: 1st Degree Felony, punishable by 5-99 years or life in prison
Continuous Trafficking of Persons: 1st Degree Felony, punishable by 5-99 years or life in prison
Compelling Prostitution: 1st Degree Felony, punishable by 5-99 years or life in prison
Human Trafficking of an Adult: 2nd Degree Felony, punishable by 2-20 years in prison