Women who are trafficked into the U.S. are often kept secluded and isolated to avoid suspicion. (Nadia Garcia/Borderzine.com)

Citizen awareness is critical to the prevention of human trafficking

EL PASO – The car headlights flashed past the windows of a farmer’s house out on a rural road in far west Texas on a sweltering, summer night bringing him outside to find out what the unusual midnight activity is all about. In the distance, he saw the car slowly approach a trailer parked in a desolate area and a man get out and open the trailer. “It has got to be a drug deal going on out there,” the farmer told Border Patrol officials in Hudspeth County, approximately 84 miles east of El Paso, Texas. Days later, Border Patrol officials broke into the trailer and found five Honduran women, dirty and barely clothed, shackled to cots. Between 18,000 and 20,000 persons are trafficked into the U.S. each year with the majority of cases involving sex trafficking of women and children.

"Our family will never be the same," said Gonzalez, mother of Angela Gonzalez. (Danya Hernandez/Borderzine.com)

DWI related deaths are not treated as violent crimes in El Paso

EL PASO — With a knot in her throat, the mother of a daughter killed in a Driving-While-Intoxicated incident tells the story of how the tragic event changed her family’s life forever. Unfortunately, like in many of these cases, the victim stays dead while the drunk driver remains alive and free. “Our family has forever been tarnished. Our family will never be the same,” Connie Gonzalez said. She is the mother of Angela Gonzalez, who along with her friend Orlando Figueroa, were run over by a drunk driver while crossing Lee Trevino in 2009 killing them on impact.

Juarez Violence Changing Lives: UTEP Students Affected

EL PASO, Texas — In May, 2010, UTEP student Alejandro Ruiz Salazar, 19—also an employee of the Graduate School—was the first known UTEP student slain in Juarez since the beginning of the current drug war. The same day, former UTEP student Jorge Pedro Gonzalez Quintero, 21, was murdered. According to Steve McCraw, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, the situation in Mexico is worse now than the Colombian drug war of the 1980s and 1990s ever was. “Colombia was never threatened like the government of Mexico is with the level of violence,” McCraw stated at a Capitol hearing. “At first, we all saw the violence and murders as something that would never happen to us but now so many families have been torn apart, and a once prosperous, to some extent happy city, has been destroyed,” Acosta commented.