Tarrant County 5-Stones Taskforce
The Tarrant County 5-Stones Taskforce is an extension of the Fort Worth Police Department that helps to facilitate networking and collaboration between local governments and area agencies in an effort to protect youth in Tarrant County by creating a continuum-of-care that responds to domestic sex trafficking and exploitation of minors. This taskforce hopes to victoriously fight Human Trafficking through five focus areas: Prevention, Education, Intervention, Advocacy, and Demand. Ultimately, this taskforce exists for three purposes related to anti-trafficking efforts: to support the FWPD, to support partnering agencies, and to develop new innovative and creative response strategies to human trafficking in Tarrant County.
Human trafficking is when anyone is pressed into involuntary labor or services via force, fraud, or coercion. Due to the psychological grooming involved, cases involving juveniles under the age of eighteen do not even need to show force, fraud, or coercion if the victims are involved in commercial sexual exploitation (aka juvenile sex trafficking). Essentially, human trafficking is modern-day slavery and juvenile trafficking is child abuse that is rarely identified as such. Furthermore, human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world, and is quickly becoming the preferred crime over drugs or arms smuggling because it is highly profitable (due to the re-usable product of people), low risk, easy to hide, and difficult to prosecute
The Tarrant County 5-Stones Taskforce fights this growing crime by focusing heavily on cost-effective prevention strategies, identifying and responding to youth at-risk for trafficking and exploitation, providing community education and increasing the accountability of those on the demand side (i.e. “Johns”, “Pimps”, etc.). While intervention efforts are also utilized, the Taskforce believes that by focusing efforts on juveniles before they become entrenched in destructive lifestyles, the number of potential victims available to predators can be reduced in a much more resource-effective way than solely reactionary endeavors.
A sample of recent and current projects by the Tarrant County 5-Stones Taskforce includes:
- The development of resource specialists to assist agency case managers with providing wrap-around care to high-risk youth and families
- Agency and resource coordination for specifically referred juvenile cases
- A community film screening with expert panel
- A Not In My City campaign
- Educational presentations
- Partnering assistance in the creation of a “John School”
- Developing tools and research studies to identify the scope of the juvenile sex trafficking problem in Tarrant County
- Educating and mobilizing the faith-based community to respond with resources and volunteers
- Local law enforcement policy changes to reflect a more proactive approach toward youth at-risk for trafficking
Taskforce monthly meetings occur the last Tuesday of each month at 11am. These meetings are open to anyone interested in brainstorming and/or collaborating resources toward this effort. For meeting location, please RSVP to the Taskforce Coordinator.
Human Trafficking Taskforce Coordinator
Fort Worth Police Department