Louisiana Texas Human Trafficking Summit held in Lake Charles

Sex trafficking exploits many young people lured into a life they may be trapped in for years.
Sex trafficking exploits many young people lured into a life they may be trapped in for years.
Updated: Apr. 1, 2019 at 7:39 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -There’s more public awareness in recent years about sex trafficking and the victims, but what about those who pay for sex—thereby creating a market for human trafficking. Louisiana and Texas are collaborating to cut back on demand.

Human sex trafficking and the innocent victims have been a high priority for several years to Louisiana State Senator Ronnie Johns, who helped to establish a refuge for victims in Baton Rouge.

Johns held a summit in Lake Charles to explore ideas on how to crack down on the criminals behind it and stopping them.

“We want to make sure there’s a significant bail put on these traffickers, we want to make sure they’re moved through the court system fast and that the penalties are harsh and that we send a message to these people, we’re not going to put up with it,” Johns said.

There would be no human trafficking without those willing to pay for sex. They discussed a strategy to lessen demand.

“The real deterrent is going to be public embarrassment. To know that my picture—my name is out there in the community as being involved in sex trafficking. You can imagine the embarrassment for the owner of the New England Patriots; incredible embarrassment for he and his family,” Johns said.

Judges, prosecutors, law enforcement and others from Texas and Louisiana shared ideas. Calcasieu District Attorney John DeRosier says the two states are more effective collaborating.

“Human traffickers are bringing these young girls and young boys into the United States for that purpose," DeRosier said. “Many of these young people do not know why they are coming over here, but they are being trafficked—but they are being groomed and set up to be commercial sex objects. That is happening along our southern border.”

Besides victims from Mexico, DeRosier says they come from here runaways and others from a variety of circumstances.

DeRosier says traffickers and those who buy sex must be punished.

“They will not want anyone who knows them to know what they have been doing. It will embarrass them, and it will shame them. Number two, it sends a message to anybody else who is doing this who has not yet been caught. We’re going to getcha,” DeRosier said.

DeRosier says all players will be dealt with in the criminal justice system.

There’s expected to be another summit in September.

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