EDINBURG – A Memorandum of Understanding between the DA's office and West Coast Children's Clinic approved at Tuesday's meeting will include the implementation of a screening tool to screen at-risk youth for child sexual exploitation.

"The University of Texas estimates that there are approximately 79,000 children and youth in Texas who are survivors of sex trafficking; however, only hundreds of these victims are actually identified across the state each year," reported Victims Unit Director Rosie Martinez.

The DA's office is using this best practice model that the Child Sex Trafficking Team of the Office of the Governor of Texas has selected for implementation by grantees and partners in an effort to form a regional continuum of care for child sex trafficking victims.

"This valuable tool will assist the efforts put forth through our office to combat sexually exploited children," said Martinez.

The Governor’s office is strongly encouraging all agencies and organizations that may come into contact with child sex trafficking victims to consider implementing the CSE-IT tool. The Texas Juvenile Justice Department and the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services have also committed to implementing the tool.