FBI needs your help to stop human trafficking

January 12, 2010 1:44:03 PM PST
Local FBI agents need your help finding some of the agency's most wanted fugitives for human trafficking. They held a press conference Tuesday morning in northwest Houston President Obama has declared January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Houston is among the top five U.S. cities as far as the number of number of trafficking victims who are rescued each year and the number of human trafficking cases that are generated.

One case, in particular, has caught the attention of the FBI. On Tuesday, the agency announced a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of Gerardo Salazar, a fugitive wanted for his alleged involvement with a human trafficking ring. Authorities say he was the leader of a group of men who provided women and girls for prostitution both in Mexico and in Houston.

Officials say rescuing and providing assistance to these kinds of victims is essential.

"We have to have those victims restored and preserved so they're available to testify in a court of law, so they can sit on the witness stand and point out the offender in the courtroom, so that we, the prosecutors, can present the evidence and the jury can do its job so these offenders can go to prison and out of society where they belong so they are not repeating the offense they committed," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward F. Gallagher.

Though Salazar remains a fugitive, five of his co-conspirators have already pleaded guilty and are now serving jail time.