ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - If the world of illegal sex trafficking had a highway it would run right through New Mexico, which is why local and federal officials are working with neighboring states and the adult sex industry to track that circuit down.
Homeland Security Investigations Assistant Special Agent in Charge Kevin Abar said more eyes are watching the circuit of the illegal sex industry.
Local operations are starting at truck stops.
"We're looking at truck stops," Abar said. "We're looking at various areas where individuals may be forced into prostitution."
Abar said other state agencies are then keeping a close eye on the interstates and now law enforcement in Texas is joining in.
Maj. Shane Byrd, with the Criminal Investigation Division in El Paso, said the teamwork is critical for his area where he deals with human smuggling. He said once female immigrants get into the U.S. illegally some are forced into the sex industry.
Those victims can and do make their way into New Mexico.
"We know that I-25 is a corridor, a large corridor, so it's got to be a huge corridor for human trafficking," Byrd said.
But law enforcement can only see so much.
This week strip club owners from across the country, including an Albuquerque strip club, will train side-by-side law enforcement.
The organization is called COAST, Club Operators Against Sex Trafficking.
"They've helped us to understand the adult industry, given us access," Abar said. "Hopefully we don't have young children getting involved and individuals that are out there that were trafficked in."
Just like the two underage dancers police said were baring it all earlier this month at an all-nude strip club in Albuquerque. Two arrests were made, and the club was closed.
"That particular club that was closed down was not a COAST member," Abar said.
Nine other Albuquerque strip clubs are, and there about 70 are members in Texas.
The organization's chairman, Michael Ocello, who also runs several clubs in the Southwest, said adult businesses with COAST are willing to turn in other businesses for doing wrong.
"I would be happy to join those people and put the handcuffs on," Ocello said.
Ocello said he's called federal agents on a possible human trafficking case before.
HSI said with that organization's help they've saved a number of women and girls.
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