“We Could Be Saving Thousands of Children”

One afternoon Texas State Trooper Derek Prestridge turned up for a meeting early and while he waited, he bided his time reading a magazine article that would change his life and many hundreds more. The story, in a law enforcement magazine, chronicled the capture of a multi-state child sex trafficking ring, which used a section of I-10 that passed right through his jurisdiction. The article hit Prestridge—hard. He wondered if any troopers had ever come in contact with the traffickers, and he started to think about ways the troopers might have stopped the traffickers, and saved their victims.

A lot of people might read an article like this and just get on with their day, but Prestridge kept thinking about it, for years, and slowly developed a training program to help police spot the signs of human trafficking. I learned about Prestridge in the spring of 2017, and eventually published an article in the Washington Post about his mission—and his success in Texas and multiple other jurisdictions where, by this time, Prestridge-trained cops had rescued numerous kids. Now I can update that story, because it turns out that a trio of federal legislators read it and decided to support Prestridge’s program. You can read my original article here, and the update on the new legislation at the Washington Post.