DALLAS – Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday the expansion of Operation Lone Star to include efforts to crack down on human trafficking related to illegal border crossings.
Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and agents, as well as the Texas Rangers, will conduct interviews with unaccompanied minors who crossed the border to identify victims of human trafficking and gain actionable intelligence that will aid in the arrest of traffickers, Abbott’s office said in a news release.
Abbott also requested that the Biden Administration allow DPS to access the unaccompanied minor holding facility in Dallas, as well as other federally-run facilities in Texas, to conduct interviews with unaccompanied minors.
The governor made the announcement at a press conference in Dallas alongside DPS Director Colonel Steve McCraw, the Office of the Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team Director Andrea Sparks, and Traffick911 Advocate Cristy Lopez.
“President Biden’s reckless open border policies have created a humanitarian crisis that is enriching the cartels, smugglers, and human traffickers who often prey on and abuse unaccompanied minors,” Abbott said. “Americans deserve to know what the Biden Administration is doing to investigate the surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the border and to protect those who are victims of human trafficking. That is why we are expanding Operation Lone Star to include anti-human trafficking efforts, such as interviewing unaccompanied minors to learn if they are victims of human trafficking. This will help us gain information to keep these children safe, root out human trafficking or other criminal activity, and prevent more children from being trafficked and abused. Whether it’s securing the border or fighting human trafficking, the state of Texas will always step up to fill the gaps left by Washington.”
Operation Lone Star was launched in early March to help secure the border and combat the smuggling of people and drugs in Texas. There are currently 1,000 DPS troopers, agents, and rangers who are engaged in the mission.
The new anti-human trafficking efforts will be supported by the Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team and other organizations and agencies that work to combat human trafficking in Texas.