Houston expands human trafficking office to include domestic violence

The big announcement Monday from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is the expansion of the existing Mayor’s Office of Human Trafficking will now include Domestic Violence. 

“Domestic violence is a significant problem in Houston, “ Said Houston Mayor, Sylvester Turner. 

For advocates, experts, and caseworkers they know COVID-19 has impacted the number of cases and people needing help.

Houston Mayor Turner said in a press conference Monday afternoon that domestic violence service providers like The Houston Area Women’s Center have seen significant increases in those who need help. Within the past few months, calls into the center for aid has risen by 40% and call for protective orders by 90%.

Bob Sanborn, with Children at Risk saying there are multiple reasons and factors for the increase in cases, one of which is tight living quarters, along with the added stress COVID-19 has presented mentally and economically. 

Financial security will be a big push for the new office, launching a new program called ‘MAKR Collective’ to empower human trafficking and domestic violence victims economically. This will help survivors gain valuable, life-long skills.

“The main thing we want to focus on is the aspect of financial or economic abuse that victims of domestic violence and human trafficking experience,“ said Turner.

The mayor added that in general 99% of victims suffering from domestic abuse are also suffering from economic abuse.

The new program called MAKR Collective will begin in October.