Edgar Walters

Edgar Walters is an investigative reporter for The Texas Tribune, where he started as an intern in 2013. He previously covered health and human services for the Tribune. Before that, he had a political reporting fellowship with the Berliner Zeitung, a daily newspaper in Berlin. He is a graduate of the Plan II Honors Program at The University of Texas at Austin, where he worked as an editor for The Daily Texan. When not in the newsroom or at the Capitol, he can be found on the volleyball court, standing 6'7" tall.

Recent Contributions

Solutions: What Texas can do to help child sex-trafficking victims

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Rep. Senfronia Thompson D-Houston and Sen. Joan Huffman R-Houston during a press conference on Jan 12, 2017.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Rep. Senfronia Thompson D-Houston and Sen. Joan Huffman R-Houston during a press conference on Jan 12, 2017.

Over the past week, we’ve exposed how Texas leaders who crusade against sex trafficking have done almost nothing to help child trafficking victims. We asked those closest to the issue how they would begin addressing the problem. Here's what they said.

She was a sex-trafficking victim, but Texas law labeled her a pimp

Yvette, 24, was convicted of trafficking a 16-year-old girl in 2015. She is serving a 23-year sentence at a prison in Gatesville, Texas.
Yvette, 24, was convicted of trafficking a 16-year-old girl in 2015. She is serving a 23-year sentence at a prison in Gatesville, Texas.

Laws the state uses to put sex traffickers behind bars can sweep up their prey, too. A few years in age can mean the difference between a chance at rehabilitation and a lengthy prison sentence, as Yvette learned.

Texas couldn’t help this sex-trafficked teen, so authorities sent her to jail

17-year-old Lena waits to be released from the Harris County Jail, with a small bag of her possessions. Her mentor gave her a blue jumpsuit to wear over her skimpy clothes.
17-year-old Lena waits to be released from the Harris County Jail, with a small bag of her possessions. Her mentor gave her a blue jumpsuit to wear over her skimpy clothes.

No one wanted Lena behind bars. She was not a prostitute; she was a child who had been sexually exploited. But teenage sex-trafficking victims in Texas end up in jail for one simple reason: There's nowhere else for them to go.

When foster care couldn't help this 16-year-old, she ran to a pimp

Jean, pictured in her mother’s home in East Texas, was one of the roughly 12,000 Texas kids in long-term foster care when she ran away and was taken in by a Dallas pimp.
Jean, pictured in her mother’s home in East Texas, was one of the roughly 12,000 Texas kids in long-term foster care when she ran away and was taken in by a Dallas pimp.

After her father raped her, Jean became one of the roughly 12,000 Texas kids in long-term foster care, a system that often leaves children more damaged than when they arrive. For Jean, selling sex seemed like a safer bet.

How hollow rhetoric and a broken child welfare system feed Texas' sex-trafficking underworld

Pimps send their victims to "walk the track" on a stretch of Bissonnet Street in Houston. Anti-trafficking efforts in Texas have focused more on putting pimps in prison than rehabilitating their prey.
Pimps send their victims to "walk the track" on a stretch of Bissonnet Street in Houston. Anti-trafficking efforts in Texas have focused more on putting pimps in prison than rehabilitating their prey.

Texas leaders have publicly battled sex trafficking for more than a decade, but they’ve devoted hardly any resources to helping victims.

In their own words: How Texas pimps recruit and sell girls for sex

The shoes of a convicted pimp who is serving out his sentence in a Texas prison. Pimps say they use fear and shame to control their victims.
The shoes of a convicted pimp who is serving out his sentence in a Texas prison. Pimps say they use fear and shame to control their victims.

Texas Tribune reporters talked to three convicted traffickers to try to understand the power they wield over victims and the attraction of what they call "the lifestyle." Here they are in their own words. 

Hegar gives lawmakers dour revenue estimate for 2017 session

Ahead of the start of the 85th Legislature, state Comptroller Glenn Hegar offers lawmakers the revenue estimate for the biennial budget.
Ahead of the start of the 85th Legislature, state Comptroller Glenn Hegar offers lawmakers the revenue estimate for the biennial budget.

Facing sluggish economic forecasts, Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Monday that lawmakers will have $104.87 billion in state funds at their disposal in crafting the next two-year budget, a 2.7 percent decrease from the last session two years ago.

Trump, women's health, child welfare top Texas news in 2016

Jill Ramirez, the director of outreach for the Latino Healthcare Forum, passes out flyers and explains components of the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 5, 2013. With Donald Trump's election to the White House, the health law faces an uncertain future.
Jill Ramirez, the director of outreach for the Latino Healthcare Forum, passes out flyers and explains components of the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 5, 2013. With Donald Trump's election to the White House, the health law faces an uncertain future.

Here’s a look at the top health and human services storylines The Texas Tribune tracked this year.