8 people killed in a “horrific” human-trafficking case

“Immigrants begging and screaming for their lives.”

Welcome to The Footnotes news – because being informed matters.

8 people killed while being trafficked into Texas

Eight people have been found dead in the back of a truck outside a Walmart store in Texas after a “horrific” human-trafficking case.

A truck was found outside Walmart. Inside, were 8 dead bodies.

Another 30 people, many suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion, were found with the bodies in the truck, which lacked air conditioning or a water supply despite blistering summer temperatures.

The truck where 8 people, and other 30 people were injured.

“They were very hot to the touch — so these people were in this trailer without any signs of any type of water.”

They were adults in their 20s and 30s, but that there also appeared to be two school-age children.

A hearse sits in the parking lot of a Walmart store where eight people were found dead.

Other recent US cases

  • In May 2003, 19 immigrants being transported from South Texas to Houston died inside a sweltering truck.
  • Prosecutors said the driver in the 2003 case heard the immigrants begging and screaming for their lives as they were succumbing to the stifling heat inside his truck but refused to free them.
  • The driver was resentenced in 2011 to nearly 34 years in prison after a federal appeals court overturned the multiple life sentences he had received.
  • The Border Patrol has reported at least four truck seizures this month in and around Laredo, Texas.


Human trafficking on an international scale

There are 20-30 million victims of human trafficking living in the world today. These “modern slaves” cost an average $90-a-head.

The term “slave” implies many forms of exploitation, including, but not limited to, sex trafficking, child sex trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage, domestic servitude, and unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers. While 510 trafficking flows have been detected since 2012, the global issue isn’t slowing down. Today, human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry, generating profits of around $32 billion each year.

When the US Department of State released its annual “Trafficking in Persons”report this past summer, Cuba and Malaysia were both “upgraded” from the list of worst offenders, while countries in South and East Asia, as well as Northern Africa, remained in the lowest category. Belarus, Belize, Burundi, Comoros, the Marshall Island, and South Sudan were all bumped down to red-alert status.

We spoke to a human rights lawyer about her work:

The Footnotes:

Why are the numbers still so astronomically high?

Jessica (who wishes to remain anonymous):

One of the big barriers to reducing this number is the lack of successful prosecutions. Right now that sends the message to traffickers that they can still get away with this crime so long as no one notices.

To them, it’s low risk and high profit.

Until we start creating serious judicial consequences, they won’t be discouraged.

The key to securing prosecutions is making sure victims can get back on their feet and maintain a stable living environment—not just for the few weeks after their rescue, but for years.

If survivors, still struggling with their trauma, are left without practical support after spending a few weeks in a recovery program, they’ll likely fall back into vulnerability.

When you lose your witness, you lose your conviction, and the whole cycle can continue.

Interested in a career of community work or social work? Find out what a career in rehabilitation is like here

8 people killed in a “horrific” human-trafficking case
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