This post is also available in: Spanish
On Monday November 10th, Houston area Representative Senfronia Thompson filed House Bill 188, which aims to keep the “Texas Human Trafficking Prevention force” active for another two years.
The Texas Human Trafficking Prevention task force first began in 2009, and requires periodic evaluation and legislative approval to stay open and active. The bill has many new details, including the clearly defined expectations of those working within the task force, and the standard procedures of which to go by. This bill includes more than provisions for law enforcement, it also requires efforts and resources to be put towards compiling further data about trafficking within the state to get an better idea of the problem and the trends surrounding it. As Texas is second in the nation for trafficking problems, it’s critical that the state learn more about the problem and it’s growth trends. This will also give the task force a better idea on the effectiveness of it’s efforts to curb trafficking. It states that statistical data regarding the nature and extent of human trafficking in the area is required to be periodically published. The bill also seeks to improve upon the training on human trafficking that law enforcement officials receive.
HB 188 would also create a standardized training program for doctors, nurses, emergency medical services personnel, teachers, school counselors, and DFPS workers. The bill also commissions the Texas Education Agency, DFPS, and the Health and Human services Commission to develop a list of basic indicators that a person might be a trafficking victim. This reference list will help working professionals who might encounter trafficking victims to better assess the situation for the possibility of trafficking. HB 188 would also create a standardized process for providing assistance to those who have been trafficking victims. While this bill would be continuing the state’s previously established task force, it also seeks to improve it in many ways. This bill, if passed, will take effect on September 1st of 2015.
Other links on HB 188: