BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas — This past October, the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office and Unbound Now BCS received a $1.5 million grant to create a regional human trafficking taskforce, and now they are getting ready to launch the program.
“Unbound Now BCS in partnership with the Brazos County Sheriffs office is launching this regional coalition that will incorporate nine counties and we will essentially have major partners from everyone of those counties coming around the same table,” explained Executive Director Amanda Buenger.
The Brazos Valley is a rapidly growing region located in the Texas triangle, a geographical triangle consisting of San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston. However, the major highways that link the three major cities have also made these Texas roads a common human trafficking route.
“The taskforce will incorporate all seven counties in the Brazos Valley and then additionally Lee county and Walker county," said Buenger. "Right now we have a steering committee, a leadership committee, that meets to plan out the agenda for these next several months as we get it off the ground, but we will be able to reach out to various partners on how to get involved.”
The taskforce’s main purpose is to support and encourage a collaborative effort among local and federal law enforcement, prosecutors and victim service providers to end human trafficking within the community.
Buenger also revealed details on what this taskforce would be able to do for the community.
“We may have a prevention subcommittee that works with a lot of prevention education within our community. We’ll obviously have a victims service subcommittee that actually serves victims directly. We’ll have a prosecution law enforcement subcommittee, those that are handling the criminal investigations and the prosecution of these cases," said Buenger. "What we really wanted to do is provide trainings and incorporate education so that the community at large has good awareness on the issue and the partners know who each other are and we can work together when it comes to actually prosecuting these cases and finding resources for victims.”
Unbound Now BCS has served close to 100 clients in the past few years and hopes this effort will bring awareness and education to this pressing matter.