Childcare Facility Revealed To Be A Sex Trafficking Front
A childcare facility tasked with keeping children safe was found to employ sex trafficking workers.
Many assumed the children at a Texas facility meant to care for foster children that were victims of sex trafficking would be safe. The reality, however, was beyond gruesome. According to a federal judge, the female children instead were victims again by employees operating a sex trafficking operation while working at the place meant to be a refuge.
According to The Texas Tribune, seven children aged between 11 and 17 were the victims of nine alleged sex trafficking offenders according to discussions held at an emergency court hearing from U.S District Judge Janis Jack this past Thursday. The facility is located in Bastrop and contracted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). The children remained inside the facility for over a month after the abuse was first reported.
Allegedly, a current employee first reported the sex trafficking incident to state authorities on January 24th, but somehow, the court and appointed judge were not notified until yesterday-well over a month afterward. According to the worker, a former staff member sold nude photos of two of the facility’s children. Furthermore, the employee was said to have used the proceeds to purchase illegal drugs and alcohol that were then given to the children for consumption.
The newly reported sex trafficking case doesn’t look to be an incident perpetrated by one individual at the facility, but multiple. The Texas Tribune also stated that several staff members were found to be allegedly responsible for the abuse, and some are believed to still be working there. One suspect has been arrested as the investigation remains ongoing.
Apparently, the initial January 24th report wasn’t the only one. The DFPS received several other reports of sex trafficking regarding the arrested staff member. With more employees coming under fire, even the residential care director is believed to be involved in some way.
This Wednesday, DFPS removed all children living at the facility. Child Protective Services staff and off-duty law enforcement aided in the transfer of the kids. Eight of the nine remaining kids have been placed within similar facilities servicing victims of sex trafficking cases, while one child refused to be transferred as authorities search for an alternative placement.
Leaders and officials across Texas have commented on the atrocious sex trafficking reports within the Bastrop facility. Governor Greg Abbot made a statement shared on his Twitter account Thursday evening calling on the Texas Rangers to investigate, arrest, and pursue charges. The issue, however, sheds more light on the growing allegations of abuse regarding children in the system.
According to another Texas Tribune report published in January, this sex trafficking case is just one of many similar issues regarding state-contracted facilities. Numerous other buildings have recently closed or had licenses revoked from culminating offenses that endangered the children supposedly being protected within. Child advocates and even the cases judge have previously blasted Texas officials for failing to ensure safety within such walls.
The numbers are telling. In about two years, court monitors in Texas found that at least 23 children died in the state’s long-term foster care system through shelters or facilities. As the sex-trafficking case develops, no names have been released yet. And for now, DFPS has yet to make any official comments regarding the situation.