SAN ANTONIO – The human trafficking bill that unanimously passed the Texas House on Tuesday is on its way to the Senate. If adopted, HB 10 introduced by State Rep. Senfronia Thompson of Houston, could become law in September.
One of its key provisions would lift the current statute of limitations, which is five years to report the crime of compelling prostitution of children under age 18.
Miriam Elizondo, co-executive director of the Rape Crisis Center, said often human trafficking victims are so young, they don’t understand it is a crime against them.
“They don’t even know the definition of human trafficking, and so when you ask them if they’ve been trafficked, they have no idea what that is,” Elizondo said.
She said many victims are hesitant to speak out against their trafficker, who grooms them to have sex for money.
Elizondo said, “The last part of that grooming process is to reinforce, ‘You’ve already done this. People are going to look at you differently. You’re not the same.’”