DNA-Prokids: Forensic Genetics and Human Trafficking





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DNA - ProKids is a program jointly run by the Universidad de Granada (UGR) and the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC). The Goal of DNA - Prokids is to return trafficked individuals, specifically young people and children to their families in their home countries. The FBI estimates that there are more than 100,000 children and teens in the United States that are being trafficked in the sex trade. Since Texas is a portal into the U.S. for Central and South America, the state government has been proactive in trying to address the problem. Part of the solution is the partnership between UNTHSC and UGR to work on DNA-Prokids. DNA-Prokids is an international humanitarian effort to help identify missing children and if possible to reunite abducted and homeless children with their parents, and to provide law enforcement agencies a scientific methodology to help deter the human trafficking of children. The organization also works with law enforcement to ensure that the children are returned to their families or placed in safe environments. Since this video, 697 parent-child associations have been made, with the vast majority of those children being returned to their families. Out of those 697, approximately 12 children have not been able to return home due to crime, violence, and drugs in their biological families. DNA-Prokids has also detected and avoided 221 illegal adoptions, where the woman presenting the baby to be adopted was not the child's biological mother. The success of the program deters human trafficking and can prevent child abuse and slave labor by increasing coordination between efforts like DNA-Prokids and authorities.