UNICEF USA and World Without Exploitation React to San Antonio Human Trafficking Atrocity

July 24, 2017


NEW YORK (July 24, 2017) – UNICEF USA and World Without Exploitation condemn the smugglers and traffickers responsible for the senseless deaths of ten people, and the trauma and injury inflicted on dozens of others, including at least two children in critical condition, in the latest case of human trafficking unfolding in San Antonio, TX. Unfortunately, this tragic case is not an isolated incident and reflects an ongoing global crisis, where people are often purchased like products.

Human trafficking has been reported in all 50 states, and across U.S. borders. In 2016, 670 cases were reported in Texas – the second highest rate in the country – with 34% involving children. Children are particularly vulnerable and are preyed upon by human traffickers. Smugglers also take advantage of children and their families by extorting them with threats and false promises. 

Around the world, more children are fleeing violence, poverty and conflict than at any point since World War II. In order to prevent future tragedies like the one in San Antonio, global migration challenges needs to be addressed and the markets for coerced or unpaid labor and commercial sex need to be eradicated. We must also challenge inaccurate representations of human trafficking and exploitation.

Around the world, UNICEF and partners are working to protect children from abuse and end trafficking in all its forms, by addressing the root causes of the global migration crisis, working with communities to identify signs of trafficking and putting children first at every step of their journey. UNICEF USA's End Trafficking project aims to raise awareness about child trafficking and mobilize Americans to take action. Over the last year, UNICEF USA has trained more than 21,600 people in 20 states to recognize and respond to trafficking.

World Without Exploitation, a coalition of nearly 100 U.S. based organizations, is working together to create a world free from exploitation for adults and children. WorldWE believes that human trafficking and sexual exploitation are human rights issues, fueled by gender, racial and income inequalities. Recognizing that law drives the culture even as culture shapes laws, World Without Exploitation collectively works to change hearts, minds, laws and policy. We are guided by survivors, whose perspectives are critical in developing just and effective policy.

You can take action to help protect survivors:

  • Learn to recognize the signs of human trafficking.
  • Post the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-373-7888) in your community. Information is available in English and Spanish.
  • Listen to the voices of trafficking survivors at World Without Exploitation.
  • Donate to, or volunteer with, an organization that works to combat trafficking.
  • Download our Interfaith Toolkit to End Trafficking
  • Support federal legislation aimed at curbing the demand for trafficked and exploited people. With the recent passing of H.R. 2200, Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017, encourage your Senators to introduce a companion bill to protect those victimized.
  • Visit unicefusa.org to learn more about what UNICEF and other organizations are doing to protect children.
  • Join our Facebook group to connect with others and to mobilize around this issue.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. UNICEF USA supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.

About World Without Exploitation
World Without Exploitation (WorldWE) is a national coalition made up of sexual exploitation and human trafficking survivors, human rights and gender justice advocates, artists, activists, and direct service providers who are coming together to create a world where no person is bought, sold, or exploited. For more information, visit www.worldwithoutexploitation.org

For more information, contact:
Lauren Hersh, World Without Exploitation
Sophie Aziakou, UNICEF USA, 917.720.1397, saziakou@unicefusa.org