is an investigative reporter and radio producer for the Tribune and Reveal, a public radio program from the Center for Investigative Reporting. Previously, she was the environment reporter at the Tribune. A native of the Washington, D.C. area, she graduated from Yale University in 2011, and then worked for the New Haven Independent, the Connecticut Mirror, and WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio. She has also been a regular contributor to National Public Radio. As an East Coast transplant she is particularly thrilled with Austin tacos and warm weather.
The state’s top leaders have remained silent on whether they'll provide more resources for sex-trafficking victims — or more funding for the crippled child welfare system that’s supposed to protect vulnerable kids.
Over the past week, we’ve exposed how Texas leaders who crusade against sex trafficking have done almost nothing to help child trafficking victims. We asked those closest to the issue how they would begin addressing the problem. Here's what they said.
Laws the state uses to put sex traffickers behind bars can sweep up their prey, too. A few years in age can mean the difference between a chance at rehabilitation and a lengthy prison sentence, as Yvette learned.
No one wanted Lena behind bars. She was not a prostitute; she was a child who had been sexually exploited. But teenage sex-trafficking victims in Texas end up in jail for one simple reason: There's nowhere else for them to go.
After her father raped her, Jean became one of the roughly 12,000 Texas kids in long-term foster care, a system that often leaves children more damaged than when they arrive. For Jean, selling sex seemed like a safer bet.
Texas Tribune reporters talked to three convicted traffickers to try to understand the power they wield over victims and the attraction of what they call "the lifestyle." Here they are in their own words.