(Austin) – Today, State Representative Senfronia Thompson (D- Houston) filed House Bill 10, the Anti-Human Trafficking Omnibus Bill. House Bill 10 encompasses all ten legislative recommendations made by the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force.
“House Bill 10 is a an example of just how vital the work of the Task Force is to ensuring that Texas maintains a stronghold against trafficking and continues to put the needs of victims first,” said Representative Thompson.
The Anti-Human Trafficking Omnibus Bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that is aimed at addressing all aspects of anti-trafficking efforts. For example, House Bill 10 would extend the criminal statute of limitations for offense involving compelling prostitution of a minor and provide exception for victims of human trafficking under the Crime Victims’ Compensation Act. In addition, House Bill 10 adds human trafficking to the child abuse report and programs for school districts and charter schools while also adding human trafficking to the list of required training for certain members of the judiciary.
Most importantly, House Bill 10 would create the Child Sex Trafficking Prevention Unit, within the Criminal Justice Division under the Office of the Governor to assist other agencies in coordinating resources for child sex trafficking prevention. The goal of the Child Sex Trafficking Prevention Unit would be to work towards preventing child sex trafficking, recovering victims and helping provide resources for those rescued victims.
According to Representative Thompson, “The creation of this unit is absolutely an integral step in the direction of making sure that one of the most heinous forms of trafficking, domestic minor sex trafficking, receives comprehensive attention.”
One of the most vulnerable populations for human trafficking are the children who run away from their homes, domestic minors — often called “runaways” or “throwaways.” According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), 1 in every 7 endangered runaways reported to NCMEC was likely a victim of child sex trafficking.
“We have a responsibility to look after the children and youth of this state. To make sure that they are safe and able to grow up in a world free of slavery. I am sure that this unit will play an important role in not only providing much needed resources to these victims, but help put an absolute end to child sex trafficking in Texas,” added Representative Thompson
“Thanks to ongoing collaboration among law enforcement authorities, prosecutors, and victim advocacy organizations, Texas remains a national leader in human trafficking prevention efforts,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said. “By enhancing penalties against sex traffickers who exploit children, providing crucial new tools to the judiciary, and creating a Child Sex Trafficking Prevention Unit, we can help ensure that Texas will continue to bring traffickers to justice and protect survivors.”
The Task Force was created in 2009 in an effort to foster a statewide partnership between law enforcement agencies, social service providers, nongovernmental organizations, legal representatives, and state agencies that fight against human trafficking. The Task Force works to develop policies and procedures to assist in the prevention and prosecution of human trafficking crimes. Additionally, Representative Thompson has filed House Bill 188 to continue the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force.