FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/02/2011
Rep. Senfronia Thompson and Colleagues Pledge to Work 24/7 Against Human Trafficking
AUSTIN, TX--- State Representative Senfronia Thompson (Houston) has filed House Bill 7 in the fight to combat human trafficking in the state of Texas.
Senate Bill 24 and House Bill 7, filed by Senator Leticia Van De Putte (San Antonio) and Representative Thompson, respectively, incorporate many of the recommendations from the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force report issued by the Attorney General.
"My colleagues and I will be working 24/7 to eradicate this form of modern-day slavery," stated Representative Thompson, “Every day, victims are passing through our state and through our cities without many of us even realizing the extent of the problem. It is time that we move beyond talk and give a voice to the victims of this heinous crime who cannot speak for themselves."
The proposals submitted in the bills are recommendations approved by all 47 members of the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force. Some of the legislative recommendations that are included in this legislation are to:
• Enhance the human trafficking statute by clarifying the definitions of sex and labor trafficking
• Extend the criminal statute of limitations for human trafficking crimes
• Require an offender who is convicted of sex trafficking to register as a sex offender
• Add human trafficking offenses and compelling prostitution as a 3g offense within the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure
• Increase the penalty for compelling prostitution of a child to a felony of the first degree
"Thanks to the strong support we have received from Rep. Thompson and other key leaders in the Texas Legislature, the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force has become a valuable resource for state, federal and local law enforcement officials across the State of Texas," said Attorney General Greg Abbott. "Human traffickers are horrific criminals who subject their victims to unspeakable physical abuse--and a lifetime of psychological trauma if they do not
thompson pledge to work 24/7 against human trafficking
have adequate access to victim services. By working collaboratively with law enforcement officials, victims' groups, and legislators like Rep. Thompson, the Task Force will not only reduce crime, but will ensure that authorities have the tools they need to put traffickers behind bars."
According to the U. S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report, issued in June of 2010, at any given time there are approximately 12.3 million men, women, and children forced into labor, bonded labor, and prostitution worldwide. Nearly 20 percent of the human trafficking victims in the United States make their way through Texas via Interstate 10 making Houston one of the most common destinations for victims of human trafficking.
"Tens of thousands of trafficking victims are lied to, robbed, then delivered into the hands of abusers who take advantage of the victims’ limited language skills, lack of money, and fear for their families back home," said Representative Thompson. "These bills will give our law enforcement, prosecutors, and judiciary the tools they need to fight and eliminate the scourges of human trafficking from the face of this earth forever."
Representative Thompson has also filed House Bill 2014 which incorporates other recommendations of the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force along with House Bill 2015, relating to the definition of conduct indicating a need for supervision .