San Antonio – Southwest ISD Superintendent Jeannette Ball was moved to action after watching the film “Sound of Freedom.”
The movie deals with the problem of human trafficking. She purchased 160 tickets to invite some of her staff to see the film ahead of the new school year.
“I wanted for people to be able to, to realize what our kids come with. You know, they come with a lot of hurt, a lot of tragic events that, that have happened to them and wanted staff to have a realistic picture,” Ball said.
The movie has sparked conversation, vigilance, and action. She’s already working on ways to introduce human trafficking education to the parents in the district.
“It’s something that is happening in our backyard and something that we all have to work together as a team to put a stop to,” Ball said.
Next year her school district will unveil the Southwest Cares Center, which will provide counseling for families in the school district. It’s being made possible thanks to a county grant.
David Lunan, assistant criminal district attorney for Bexar County, said there are about 60 to 80 annual human trafficking cases the office handles. The majority are sex trafficking cases.
“Of those sex trafficking cases, 80% are children,” Lunan said.
He said the prosecution of human trafficking cases comes in different charges attorneys feel will get a conviction. He urges parents to be vigilant -- anyone can be a victim, but female teens are targets.
“They are mostly cases that we see. They’re being seduced by the offer of drugs or nice things, backpacks and purses and expensive footwear,” he explained. “Almost all of our cases is a young lady again in her early teens that is seduced, seduced by offers from social media or in-person of ‘I’ve got money you can make, I’ve got drugs, you can have I’ve got emotional support. I can give you.’”
If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, call the local 24/7 hotline, 1-844-843-6348. For more information on the signs of human trafficking, follow this link.