Beyond here, there be dragons—or at least the most interesting articles I’ve read this week by other writers. There are some terrific pieces out there this week. If you hit a paywall, please pay the piper.

How the crusade against sex trafficking in Texas has left child victims behind

By Morgan Smith, Edgar Walters and Neena Satija

Texas Tribune

A form of slavery still exists in Texas. It just isn’t legal and lives in the shadows. The state in recent years has begun to crack down on sex trafficking, but as this series by the Tribune makes clear, there’s still much to be done:

The day after her 23rd birthday, Yvette sat in in a Bexar County courtroom, facing up to 99 years in prison for exploiting a 16-year-old girl.

She wasn’t the ringleader of the “prostitution enterprise,” the prosecutor said. But as an adult who showed a teenager the ropes while they were both being sold for sex, he said, Yvette was just as guilty the pimp.

In other circumstances, Yvette would have been considered a victim.

There are other stories in the Tribune package as well. But there also is a compelling and somewhat related story out of Dallas about a teacher who lost her job for having appeared in pornographic movies. She says she was essentially a sex slave who escaped that life and should not be punished as a victim.

Exemplary Dallas ISD teacher fired over porn past

By Eva-Marie Ayala

Dallas Morning News

A Dallas ISD teacher who was fired because she acted in adult films more than a decade ago says she was forced into “sex slavery” and is fighting to get back her dream job helping children.

Resa Woodward, 38, taught sixth-grade science at an all-girls STEAM academy at Balch Springs Middle School before she was removed from the classroom in November. She was fired after her past in adult films was exposed on social media. She is appealing her termination to the Texas Education Agency.

The Talk

Austin American-Statesman

Often over the past year, the rhetoric of Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter and All Lives Matter have confused and lost the underlying problems of racial attitudes and obstacles in the United States. The Austin American-Statesman attempted to strip away the most heated rhetoric to have a rational conversation between the city’s police and African-American community.

For generations, black parents have had The Talk with their children about how to survive interactions with police: Don’t argue. Don’t get shot. Don’t give them a reason. Come home.

The Statesman and KLRU are hosting a forum to discuss the series and the PBS program The Talk—Race in American, airing February 20. The forum will be on February 28 and can be watched on the KLRU Facebook page or at

Is Eight Years Right for Voter Fraud

By Bud Kennedy

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Rosa Ortega is the in-person vote fraud unicorn that Republicans have been seeking for years: an immigrant who voted illegally in Texas. Sure, there’s been mail-in voter fraud, but the in-person fraudster—the perceived threat to democracy that has prompted all sorts of voter identification legislation—has been difficult to find. The problem with this unicorn is that she has been a permanent legal resident since infancy—and votes Republican. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram‘s Bud Kennedy tells us more:

Rosa Maria Ortega, 37, a Grand Prairie mother of four, is a completely legal American resident with a green card. She has lived here since infancy.

Now, for voting in a general election and also in a Republican runoff, she is facing prison and then possible deportation.

 To watch a jailhouse interview with Ortega, click here.