LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Law enforcement has been working to adapt to this long-lasting and ever-changing issue of finding traffickers and getting victims the help they deserve.
It’s more common in Lubbock than many might think so KCBD sat down with an undercover Lubbock Police Department Detective who deals with it every single day. He has asked us not to reveal his identity in fear of jeopardizing his work.
“We were doing some stings a few years ago and I could hear the trafficker in the background trying to coach [the victim] on where to go, what to say, and more stuff. We got the victim in custody and, come to find out, she had multiple STDs, she had been tortured, and held against her will for quite some time and forced into prostitution,” said the detective.
Yes, that happened right here in Lubbock according to the detective. He says to the every day West Texan, sex trafficking might not seem like a big problem here, but he says Lubbock is not immune to it and they deal with it 24/7.
“Some of these cases can take up the years to investigate. Some are fairly quick. We scour the internet through different medias, whether it’s through sites that are known for prostitution or we have databases that collect information for us. We work with our analysts and also we reach out to advocates and teachers,” said the detective.
He says the team will also go on various stings all around the city trying to bust different sex trafficking rings. “Anybody that can be exploited can become a prostitute. Buyers are the same way in the sense that it looks like everybody, whether it’s a preacher, law enforcement official, judge, attorney, construction worker, you name it. Every career field in this world is purchasing sex.”
Once these detectives come across a victim of sex trafficking, he says its a battle to save them. “We’ve dealt with the same victims over and over. Each time we encounter them, it’s like encountering a different person because how they’re going to react, is not how they’re going to react the last time and it won’t be the same way they react the next time we encounter them.”
With every effort, this LPD detective says their passion remains the same. “These people are victims of a crime, and it’s our responsibility as law enforcement and society citizens to protect people that are victims of crimes.”