Assistant Smith Co. DA explains rise in sex trafficking cases in East Texas

Assistant Smith Co. DA explains rise in sex trafficking cases in East Texas
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 8:25 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 26, 2023 at 11:03 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - According to Assistant Smith County District Attorney Bryan Jiral, the county saw a gradual increase in sex trafficking cases in the last five years. This is due to the amendment of Texas penal code 20A.

“Five years ago we didn’t have 20A in the penal code as it’s written today. And so, it’s hard to say, you know it was illegal, it was always illegal, but they started going after the pimps once 20A came down.”

The penal code defines trafficking and now separates the act for an adult and a child under 17 years of age, making it illegal to recruit, transport, harbor, or make a person available for the purpose of sexual acts.

But Jiral says the biggest contributor to the rise is the internet.

“These girls are easy to put up. It’s safer than drugs for a pimp to do that. And with the internet, the demand is just crazy. I mean we’ve had any profession you can think of including doctors, lawyers, lawyers while in trial arrested for hitting up prostitution websites.”

The district attorney’s office also discovered that these East Texas cases are interrelated, as pimps teach each other how to manage prostitution.

And so Jiral says the solution to stopping the trend starts with accountability for the hotels and the “johns”--or people buying sex.

“We have evidence that some hotels are cool with it. We’re going to have to start increasing the punishments a little bit more, decreasing demand. And then smoking the pimps whenever they come to trial, trying to give as high of a sentence as possible because this is the organized and normalization of child abuse and sexual assault is what it is.”

To report suspected human trafficking, call the hotline 888-373-7888

Click here to see the full text of Texas Statute 20A.

WEBXTRA: Assistant Smith Co. DA explains rise in sex trafficking in East Texas

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