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Fighting Traffickers with Nuisance Abatement:

   Nuisance Abatement can be used to thwart criminal activity at properties used for prostitution or forced labor.


   The County Attorney will file nuisance abatement actions against businesses that support human trafficking and forced slave labor.   


   When a business is involved in human trafficking, both the property owner of the land as well as the owner of the business itself will be subject to a nuisance abatement suit. 


   Nuisance abatement is a collaborative effort among state and county agencies. To eliminate illegal businesses and places housing human trafficking victims, local law enforcement, fire marshals, and state agencies can pursue all applicable violations to put pressure on the  property owners to encourage eviction or an injunction.

Linda Geffin

Linda Geffin, Division Chief of the Special Prosecutions Unit, spoke with International Studies students at St. Thomas University about how the County Attorney's Office is fighting human trafficking.


    It is impossible to know exactly how many women are currently sex slaves in Houston... Terry O’Rourke, the first assistant Harris County attorney, estimates that on any given day, the number is about 1,000, but it could be higher. A 2008 Department of Justice report figured that between 14,500 and 17,500 people were being trafficked into the country every year. A 2004 report estimated that one quarter of all trafficking victims in the U.S. end up in Texas. According to Linda Geffin, the chief of special prosecutions with the Harris County attorney’s office, about 70 percent of trafficking victims end up working in the sex trade.Facts

  • Human trafficking is better known as a form of modern-day slavery.
  • Traffickers use a combination of force, fraud or coercion to exploit victims and force them into some form of servitude. 
  • The victims may be placed within the commercial sex industry, domestic servitude, or factory work. 
  • More then 18,000 victims are trafficked into the U.S. each year, with  more then half of them under the age of 18. 
  • Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world and it is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest criminal industry in the world today.  
  • Victims of sex trafficking may be found in massage parlors, brothels, strip clubs and escort services.
  • Victims of labor trafficking may be found in domestic situations as nannies or maids, sweatshop factories, construction sites, or farm work. 




County Attorney Vince Ryan, along with The Special Prosecutions Unit, attended a press conference Tuesday, September 14th to support the 4th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Week.


TraffickedChief of Special Prosecutions, Linda Geffin was the
featured guest on a radio program to discuss local
efforts to combat human trafficking in Harris County.
The radio program called “Trafficked” with host Dottie
Laster centers on issues of sex slavery, forced labor,
and victims rights.
Listen to the Interview:
 Human Trafficking Awareness

September is Human Trafficking Awareness Month


Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan is dedicated to the cause of raising awareness of human trafficking in Harris County.  On August 30th, 2011 County Attorney Ryan along with the Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition launched the 5th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Month.    

It is Vince Ryan’s mission to help eradicate Human Trafficking in Harris County. “Our office           is committed to using the law to protect those in   society that are unable to protect themselves.  Human Trafficking is a crime and those engaged in this horrible act will be punished,” Ryan said.

The County Attorney's Office has been active in the fight against human trafficking since 2009, when County Attorney Ryan formed the Special Prosecutions Unit.  This Unit is headed by Assistant County Attorney Linda Geffin and prosecutes the perpetrators of the commercial sex trade found in the commercial sex industry, such as sexually oriented businesses, massage parlors, and cantinas.  Traffickers use a combination of force, fraud or coercion to exploit victims and force them into some form of servitude. 

             The goal of the Special Prosecutions Unit is to eradicate the criminal activity, release the victims from servitude, and allow us to facilitate access to non-governmental agencies to help the victims reclaim their lives.  To achieve this goal, the Harris County Attorney’s Office collaborates with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to close businesses that perpetuate human trafficking.

             To date, over thirty local cantinas, massage parlors, and other criminal enterprises have been eliminated.  With each successful case, the County Attorney's Office is making Harris County a safer place to live. 


 To see more information about Human Trafficking and coverage of the press conference visit http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=8335129 and http://www.khou.com/community/blogs/crime-watch/Crime-Blog-City-state-leaders-announce-push-to-stop-human-trafficking-in-Houston-area-128702923.html.


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