Police searching for a missing woman and two children found 100 people living in filth in a Houston home, apparently a holding point as part of a suspected human trafficking operation.
Many of the 94 men and 15 women — plus the missing woman and her two young children — were discovered in the 1,500-square-foot house Wednesday.
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Police said many of the people in the home were in their underwear and shoeless, the Dallas Morning News reported
Police found the home after they were told that the woman and two children who disappeared were taken there, the newspaper said.
At the home, they discovered “a large, large group of people, some sitting on top of one another, very confined spaces,” Houston Police Department spokesperson John Cannon told the Morning News. “It was just filth, very squalid-like conditions inside. Trash bags with clothing piled as high as you can see. They were very surprised at the numbers of people inside. Some were just sitting on top of one another because there was just no room.”
Five men were arrested in connection with the alleged operation, the newspaper said, and Houston has turned the investigation over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Houston Chronicle reported that police received a tip
from someone who said he was being blackmailed by smugglers holding some of his family members.
The people 100 people being held at the home were hungry and thirsty upon being rescued. Windows were boarded up on the inside and the people were locked in.
Thursday, the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee held a meeting in Houston on human trafficking, and it was pointed out that the city is one of the largest areas in the country where human trafficking occurs, KTRK TV reported
Human trafficking is likened to slavery and the congressional hearing is tackling the issues involved in trafficking and how to stop the problem.
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