Houston, TX — While many think that the state taking children from parents is a noble gesture to protect the child, all too often, the state removes kids from a bad situation and throws them into a situation akin to a horror film. Many times the children are taken from caring parents, who happened to hit a rough patch in their lives, and thrown into torturous and outright sadistic situations where they end up raped, tortured, and even murdered.
Over the years, TFTP has reported on many of these cases, up to and including abuse by actual agents of the state. Never before, however, have we seen one of these Children's Protective Services workers attempt to turn a child into a prostitute, on video... until now.
Shocking video out of Houston, released this week shows just that. In this case, the mother of a 14-year-old child, Keisha Bazley, actually asked CPS for help with her daughter after she began acting out and causing trouble at school. But "help" was the last thing she received.
Instead of helping her daughter, the CPS agent encouraged the child to sell her body for sex — to feed herself — and it was caught on video.
"My daughter told me that the worker had been telling her she should do these things, so she said she decided to video her," Bazley told FOX 26.
When Bazley asked CPS for help, they took her child and placed her in a hotel where dozens of other children are living in Harris County. While at the hotel, Bazley told her CPS agent that she was hungry and the agent told her to become a prostitute to feed herself.
"And giving her an incentive to do so, and almost a threat of not having her needs being met, if she didn't do what this woman very explicitly told her to do," said family law attorney Mike Schneider.
"If me, the parent, was to do something like this to my child, I would be bashed," said Bazley. "I would be called a horrible parent. I would lose my kids."
Indeed, she would lose her kids and instead of acknowledging this fact, CPS tried to lose the video. And they've kept her kid.
"I think they're threatened by the fact that this video even exists," said Schneider. "They know about it. They apologized and the head of CPS has apologized about this. What they didn't do is tell the court dealing with this case that was going on Thursday, when they wanted to dismiss the case."
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Schneider told FOX 26 on Monday they've been fighting to have Bazley's case dismissed and her daughter returned, but CPS refuses. What's more, at the hearing for her child, CPS refused to acknowledge the existence of the video.
"The fact that they didn't think it was relevant that their own agency is trying to prostitute a child, that's incredibly disingenuous, to have a hearing and not bring that to the court's attention," said Schneider.
In response to the incident, Texas DFPS Spokesperson Melissa Lanford released a statement to FOX 26, saying:
"DFPS is aware of the video and has taken action. The person in the video – who was employed as CPS support staff - was dismissed from her position August 10. The safety and appropriateness with which children in care must be treated is our paramount concern. Nothing less will be tolerated."
Bazley's case illustrates the horrifying problem within the US foster system. As TFTP has reported, according to the government's own data, the vast majority of sex trafficked kids are coming from government systems like this one in Houston, who promises to keep them safe.
This system is set up to pull children from their families for ridiculous reasons and turn them over to for profit systems—funded by your tax dollars—that use these children as cash cows and have no incentive to keep them safe.
According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's (NCMEC), most recent report complied from FBI data and their own, of the nearly 24,000 runaways reported to NCMEC in 2019, one in six were likely victims of child sex trafficking. Of those, 88 percent were in the care of social services when they went missing.
Equally as disturbing as the fact that most sex trafficked kids come from within the system is the fact that the FBI discovered in a 2014 nationwide raid that many foster children rescued from sex traffickers, including children as young as 11, were never reported missing by child welfare authorities — likely because they were told to get into sex trafficking by their ostensible caretakers.
"I've never seen that happen before where the commissioner of CPS comes in from Austin, just to apologize about something horrible that's been done to a child involved with CPS," Schneider said. "It's bad enough if it's just one bad rogue worker. It concerns me that it may be bigger than that, and they need to make sure it's not just one person, and they've got to find a way to protect these kids."