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Rep.González, Jessica

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REP. JESSICA GONZÁLEZ LAYS OUT H.B. 3206 TO COMBAT HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKING  print page

by: Rep. González, Jessica
03/25/2019

AUSTIN – Texas State Representative Jessica González today will lay out HB 3206 in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. The bill is a significant step forward in combatting human sex trafficking. The bill tackles one of the root causes of commercial sex exploitation: demand.

While those selling sex often wind up in jail— more than half of sex trafficking victims are arrested an average of at least nine times—purchasers often face few or no consequences. Studies show that more than 80 percent of women and girls engaged in the commercial sex trade have been coerced or forced by traffickers or pimps. Nearly 90 percent meet the criteria for PTSD—in the same range as a combat veterans and torture victims.

"HB 3206 is an important effort that targets those who fuel the illicit sex market," Representative González said. "As a result, we believe this bill will reduce prostitution and sex trafficking, while increasing public safety and saving the state millions in taxpayer dollars."

Additionally, the legislation supports trafficking survivors by allocating funds—nearly $2 million over five years—to the criminal justice division within the governor’s office for victims’ services. Providing trauma-informed care and wrap-around services to victims is critical because the risk of being caught in a cycle of exploitation, violence, and incarceration is high. Nearly all people charged with selling sex share characteristics, including substance abuse, mental illness, homelessness, and above all, a history of sexual abuse and an inability to meet one’s basic needs.

Representative González added, "The time is now to address this issue head-on. I have been pleased to see advocates and stakeholders from law enforcement to service providers, former victims, and even former buyers express support for this legislation. As Tarrant County Judge Brent Carr said, ‘"Pretty Woman” is a myth.’ I'm proud to stand up for victims of commercial sex exploitation, many of whom are LGBTQ+, so they may receive the services they need to start their journey towards healing."

Contact: Adam Goodrum

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