CJ Department to host discussion over human trafficking

The Department of Criminal Justice will host “Real Talk with CJ” today at 2 p.m. in the George J. Beto Criminal Justice Center. The guest speaker, Captain Kyle Matheson, will discuss his work with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) in relations to human trafficking.

Criminal Justice Publications Officer Beth Kuhles discussed the significance of “Real Talk with CJ”.

“’Real Talk w/CJ’ invites working professionals, many of them alumni, to describe the day-to-day aspects of the job and provide tips for gaining employment,” Kuhles said. “Held about six times a year, our speakers reflect the many careers available with a CJ degree, including federal, state, and local law enforcement and corrections agencies, victim service organizations and corporate security.”

Matheson’s talk will focus on human trafficking, followed by a Q&A. The Department of Criminal Justice is excited to host Captain Matheson because of his relation to SHSU and his prominent role in his department.

“Capt. Matheson is an SHSU alumni, receiving his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice in 1996,” Kuhles said. “He currently serves as a captain for the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) in Region II for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), handling cases involving drugs, gangs, and special investigations for a 17-county area in Southeast Texas.”

Through Captain Matheson’s long-time career in Criminal Justice, he is able to provide students, faculty and the public with firsthand knowledge of human trafficking and career strategies in his field.

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, human trafficking is driven by a demand for cheap labor and services. This crime has continued to thrive due to the low risk or forestallment from the illegal activity. These criminals benefit from high profit due to the increased demand of commercialized sex.

Human trafficking is estimated to be the second most-profitable criminal activity in the world, behind drug trafficking. An estimated 27 million people are considered modern-day slaves, with a predicted 80 percent made up of women and young girls.

The CID recently created a new unit in hopes to deter further increases in the human trafficking organization.

“About 18 months ago, CID added a Human Trafficking Unit, which works hand-in-hand with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the Houston Police Department,” Kuhles said, “[In order] to identify, investigate, disrupt, and dismantle sex trafficking organizations.”

Kuhles touched on the popularity of human trafficking in Houston.

“Human trafficking is one of the most lucrative criminal enterprises nationwide, second only to drugs,” Kuhles said. “Houston is a hub of activity in sexual exploitation, with domestic and international victims that include children and adults, men and women.”

Kuhles said that students should attend the presentation because as future CJ professionals, they are likely to encounter these issues in their future.

Following the lecture from Matheson, there will be a short period reserved for questions from the audience. Captain Matheson will additionally be available after the session to discuss DPS careers and questions about human trafficking.

This event is located in the Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom and requires no prior registration or cost.

For more information about human trafficking, visit traffickingresourcecenter.org

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