VThe Tarrant County 5-Stones Taskforce is a community network engaged in collaborative efforts to end domestic minor sex trafficking in Tarrant County. This is a combined effort that unifies various levels of government, community agencies, and concerned individuals. This taskforce hopes to victoriously fight Human Trafficking through five focus areas: Awareness, Training, Restoration, Legislative Advocacy, and Demand. Ultimately, this taskforce exists for three purposes related to anti-trafficking efforts: to support the FWPD, to support partnering agencies, and to develop innovative and effective response strategies to human trafficking in Tarrant County.
Human trafficking is when anyone is pressed into involuntary labor or services via force, fraud, or coercion. Due to the psychological grooming involved, cases involving juveniles under the age of eighteen do not even need to show force, fraud, or coercion if the victims are involved in commercial sexual exploitation (aka juvenile sex trafficking). Essentially, human trafficking is modern-day slavery and juvenile trafficking is child abuse that is rarely identified as such. Furthermore, human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world and is quickly becoming the preferred crime over drugs or arms smuggling because it is highly profitable (due to the re-usable product of people), low risk, easy to hide, and difficult to prosecute.
The Tarrant County 5-Stones Taskforce fights this growing crime by focusing heavily on cost-effective prevention strategies, identifying and responding to youth at-risk for trafficking and exploitation, providing community education and increasing the accountability of those on the demand side (i.e. “Johns”, “Pimps”, etc.). While intervention efforts are also utilized, the Taskforce believes that by focusing efforts on juveniles before they become entrenched in destructive lifestyles, the number of potential victims available to predators can be reduced in a much more resource-effective way than solely reactionary endeavors.
A sample of recent and current projects by the Tarrant County 5-Stones Taskforce includes:
- Partnering with the Governor’s office to develop long-term mentors that will assist in providing wrap-around care to high-risk youth and families
- Agency and resource coordination for specifically referred juvenile cases
- Multiple community forums with an expert panel
- A Not In My City campaign
- Educational presentations
- Creation of a Stop Sexual Exploitation program, also known as an extended “John School”
- Advocacy for laws which benefit victims and/or hold perpetrators accountable
- Developing tools and research studies to identify the scope of the juvenile sex trafficking problem in Tarrant County
- Partnering in development of a residential facility for trafficked youth
- Support local law enforcement policy changes to reflect a more proactive approach toward youth at-risk for trafficking
Taskforce monthly meetings occur the last Tuesday of each month at 11am. These meetings are open to anyone interested in brainstorming and/or collaborating resources toward this effort. For meeting location, please RSVP to the Taskforce Coordinator.
Human Trafficking Coordinator
Fort Worth Police Department