The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NW talk details human trafficking issue in Metroplex

By Alyssa Pate/reporter

Of the approximately 200 children the Dallas Police Department recovers each year, 60 percent admit they are part of human trafficking, a Dallas detective told NW students Feb. 2.

Cathy Delapaz has worked for Dallas police for 31 years. About 12 years ago, she helped create the high-risk victim and exploitation unit. She met with NW criminal justice students to discuss the problem of human trafficking in Dallas.

Delapaz described four separate cases she worked, sharing crime scene photos, lab documents and a phone call that involved an undercover officer. She explained to the students pursuing a career in the criminal justice field that they would encounter one of these girls sometime during their careers. She said the girls would look young, would most likely be with an older girl and would lie about their ages.

The girls are caught up in a scam that is run by the pimp, Delapaz said. The girls would run away from home, be taken in by the pimp and promised a place to stay. After a few days, the pimp would tell the girl she owed him money and she could either go into prostitution to earn the money or go back to the streets.

“Little kids have nobody,” she said. “They are at the mercy of whoever is in the house.”

Delapaz said the unit was started when officers became tired of the girls simply being sent back home. Before the unit was started, vice officers would bring in about eight girls a year. Those girls would then be turned over to Child Protective Services. After her case had been documented, she would be taken home.

Delapaz said not all of her cases end happily, but for some of the ones that do, she still talks to them, and they are doing well.

“It’s really about education and training to get the word out,” she said.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian