Human trafficking is a $150 billion industry that stretches around the world, according to the Polaris Project.
The number of human trafficking cases continue to grow, especially in our area. The number of cases in Montgomery County have increased from 44 cases in 2017, to 75 cases in 2018 and 65 cases so far in 2019. These cases are handled by the Special Crimes Bureau.
There isn't a whole lot of light in Tyler Dunman's daily work. As chief of the Special Crimes Bureau for the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, he spends his days investigating assault claims in the Catholic Church, fighting to put away DUI offenders and working to find homes for victims caught up in sex trafficking rings.
It's dark work, but now he's found a bright spot in all of it. An opportunity he says he's been led to by a higher power.
"What's driving me here is my faith and knowing that God's given me an opportunity and called me to something bigger," said Dunman.
In October, Dunman will leave his job as a top prosecutor and begin the journey of uprooting his wife and three little girls to take a post more than 8,000 miles away from Houston. They're moving to the east African country of Uganda, where a lack of jobs has pushed many into sex work.
Human trafficking a growing problem in Houston:
"Tyler is one of these warriors who's going to put his money where his mouth is and transplant his entire family to go and show another government, 'Hey, here's what we can do, not only within your continent, but that we can have efforts that yield results here, within the United States and in Montgomery County,'" said Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon.
As Dunman's boss, Ligon says the county isn't losing a son, the world is gaining a warrior.
"So am I proud of him? I'm about to bust," said Ligon.
Dunman will work for the Washington-based Human Trafficking Institute, embedded in the prosecution team. His wife Kimberly is leaving her oil and gas job to serve with the Christian-based medical mission Rescue Hope.
In the past, the Dunmans have served on mission trips in different places throughout the world. However, this move will be the first time their children will see first-hand their passion for helping others.
"We've been real intentional of just trying to share with them what it looks like and what we do there and just trying to expose their little minds to the world and how different it is compared to how great and blessed we are here in the United States," said Dunman.
Though the challenge of stomping out human trafficking is a huge task, the Dunmans say preparing for the assignment ahead hasn't been without its lighter moments.
"Our oldest, who is pretty analytical, she's started to think ahead a little bit. She told us that the week before we leave, we have to eat Chik-fil-A and Whataburger every day before we go," said Dunman.
"And that we're going to stay up all night before we go and eat Blue Bell Ice Cream," said Kimberly.
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