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Human Smuggling

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

They worked for nearly four hours, tackling a problem that has united members of Congress from both political parties.

"At a time when we can't agree on just about anything this is an area we have common ground on," said Congressman Michael McCaul.

Texas Southern University hosted Houston's first official congressional hearing on human trafficking. Local, state, and federal law-enforcement as well as prosecutors and former victims detailed their biggest challenges as well as emerging trends.

Ann Johnson is an assistant district attorney in Harris County.

"People that have been involved in drug sales are getting out of that and into human trafficking," she said. "Because when you sell a drug that drug is gone. When you sell a human being you can sell them over and over"

And she says the younger the victim, the more money can be charged. Former victims say abusers pay the most money for young boys who were forced into prostitution. That brought up another problem, lack of resources for rescued victims.

"They have less than 500 beds for child trafficking victims in the whole country," said Congressman Ted Poe.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said that problem is among the most critical.

"Number one we need more beds," she said. "We've got to find a safe and secure place."

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