Houston has long been the nation’s most notorious human trafficking hub. Therefore, DA Ogg is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting up the chain of criminality to hold pimps and traffickers accountable. Those who prey on vulnerable women, men and children now face felony charges and prison sentences, while sex workers are diverted into counseling at the Houston Area Women’s Center and into community-based treatment for drug and sex abuse.
In the fall of 2017, DA Ogg launched Project 180, redefining the approach to Houston's human trafficking problem. The program utilizes a multi-disciplinary team to identify trafficking victims while aggressively prosecuting exploiters. This project began as an 18-month program, funded by a grant from the Governor’s Office, with four goals in mind:
- Reduce the harm of a criminal conviction for offenders, charged with prostitution likely entered into this life as adolescent trafficking victims;
- Bridge this same population with a community agency (Houston Area Women’s Center) for services to help them transition into a better life;
- Increase accountability of exploiters (sex buyers and traffickers) through increased prosecution and sentencing;
- Gather data and research to inform future policy regarding this population.
Excerpt from Program Assessment by Rebecca Pfeffer, Ph.D. from University of Houston – Downtown:
Project 180 is demonstrably meeting the goal of harm reduction in the way of reducing criminal sanctioning for prostitution arrestees. Compared to other prostitution cases, Project 180 cases are significantly more likely to be dismissed and less likely to result in charges or criminal sanctions. Of the 348 Project 180 cases that were initiated since the program was implemented, almost 90% (89.4%) of participants have had their prostitution charge dismissed, compared to only 30.2% of non-P180 prostitution arrestees from the same time period.
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