Child Sex Trafficking Workshop Held in Midland to Raise Awarenes - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

Child Sex Trafficking Workshop Held in Midland to Raise Awareness

By: Alexa Williams
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- Child sex trafficking is a growing epidemic in Texas, but on Wednesday, a step towards the fight against the tragic crime took place in the Basin.

"The reason we are in the Permian Basin is to really talk about child sex trafficking and to provide some outstanding training to local criminal justice professionals, law enforcement, prosecutors and social service," David Boatright, the Executive Director of the Texas Regional Office of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said.

The workshop is the first of its kind to come to West Texas. It's all in an effort to identify and respond to child sex trafficking.

"It's a chance to bring all of these different groups together to network and communicate together. When they leave here, the communication doesn't end today, it continues day in and day out afterwards," Robert Almonte, U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas, said.

The Basin is not immune to this problem, it's happening in our own backyard.

"Many people believe child sex trafficking occurs in Central Asia or South America and that's simply not the case. It occurs right here in the Permian Basin and if you believe it's not here, then you're just simply not looking for it," Boatright said.  

But organizers remain hopeful that this experience will help crack down on the crime.

"Our goal is always to increase awareness, through the media, through training through outreach, through training. It's all about awareness," Boatright said.  

"Everybody that is in attendance today is going to leave this meeting more well informed and going to have the knowledge and information to be better able to address a serious problem of child trafficking," Almonte said.

The workshop was a one day event and organizers say they hope to continue to host events like this one in the Basin.
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