AUSTIN – State Rep. Bill Zedler's (Arlington) legislative package confronting issues related to human trafficking has been approved by the Texas House this week, and is now heading to the Senate. Two bills by Rep. Zedler will aid victims of human trafficking move forward from the nightmare of captivity, as well as expose a potential link between human trafficking and sexually oriented businesses.
"Texas has taken strong measures to combat human trafficking in our state. This legislation will provide additional tools to continue those efforts," said Zedler.
Based on the recommendation from the Office of the Attorney General's 2008 report, Texas Response to Human Trafficking, House Bill 2329 provides victims with protective orders and a legal pseudonym, which are similarly provided to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
General Abbott stated, "Human trafficking is a complex crime that often weaves a convoluted web of relationships between victims and their oppressors."
"This provides a valuable tool to allow trafficking victims to safely come out of the shadows and fight for their freedom. Additionally, it will let them help prosecutors go after their tormentors by reducing their fear of retribution," said Zedler.
In 2009, the Legislature established the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force, chaired by Attorney General Greg Abbott. General Abbott stated that, the task force is "develop[ing] policies and procedures that will help crack down on and eradicate this horrific crime."
The task force is comprised of numerous entities, including state and local law enforcement, social service providers, and non-governmental organizations. House Bill 1930 by Zedler adds a representative from the Department of State Health Services, and calls on the task force to examine the potential link between human trafficking and sexually oriented businesses.
Rep. Zedler said, "I'm outraged when I hear stories of vulnerable women being exploited, shipped around like cargo, and coerced into sexual slavery. This happens in illicit locations, often surrounding major sporting events, but it may be happening in more so-called 'respectable' establishments as well. I look forward to the task force taking a hard look to see where the state can next confront this tragedy."
Representative Bill Zedler represents District 96, located in Tarrant County. He serves on the House Committee on Government Efficiency and Reform, and the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence.
Contact: Phil Fountain
Phone: (512) 463-0374
5840 West Interstate 20 Suite #110