P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2019
AUSTIN – As the nation observes Human Trafficking Awareness Day on July 30th, the State of Texas is implementing new laws sponsored by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, along with additional funding to crack down on human trafficking.
"This session we took decisive action to combat human trafficking - a scourge on our society that cannot be tolerated," said Senator Nelson. "These bills, along with investments we made in the budget, will ensure that state resources are being maximized and that agencies are working together to root out traffickers and help victims."
Specifically her HB 1, the General Appropriations Acts, provides:
- $37.8M for anti-human trafficking efforts at the Department of Public Safety, including $27.9M in new funding for anti-child sex and anti-human trafficking efforts and anti-gang squads;
- $5.7M total for the Human Trafficking Section at the Office of the Attorney General to handle additional prosecutions, a $3.5M increase over the current budget;
- $5.7M to support the Child Sex Trafficking Prevention Unit within the Office of the Governor;
- $60,000 for a training program for nurses to help recognize victims of human trafficking at the Department of State Health Services;
- $1.2M to fund staff for human trafficking prevention at the Department of Family and Protective Services;
- $200,000 for signs at public transportation hubs regarding services and assistance available to victims of human trafficking through the Texas Department of Transportation;
- $6.1M for anti-human trafficking related efforts at establishments licensed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission; and
- $1.7M for a dedicated anti-human trafficking unit at the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
Senator Nelson authored SB 72, creating the Statewide Human Trafficking Coordinating Council whose members include all state agencies that receive an appropriation to address human trafficking. The bill directs the Council to develop a strategic plan to ensure cross-agency coordination in the effort to combat human trafficking.
She also co-authored SB 20 which enhances tools to fight online sex trafficking, increases the penalties for buyers and creates a process for victims to clear their records of certain offenses committed solely as a victim on trafficking.