Texas and federal human trafficking 82nd legislative update
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  • The definitions of forced labor or services under the current Penal Code chapter 20A do not list of all of the potential sexual acts that could constitute human trafficking under the law.
  • Senator Van de Putte: "Human Trafficking is modern-day slavery. SB 98 is necessary to stop a practice so vial and inhumane. “
  • Defines “Minors” as a person under 18 years of Age Treats Minors as Victims Defines “Minors” as a person under 18 years of Age Treats Minors as Victims Defines “Minors” as a person under 18 years of Age Treats Minors as Victims Defines “Minors” as a person under 18 years of Age Treats Minors as Victims


  • 1. Texas and Federal Human Trafficking Legislative Update Mandi Sheridan Kimball, MSW Director of Public Policy and Law Center and Government Affairs
  • 2. What is Human Trafficking?
      • Trafficking of persons is one of the largest criminal industries existing today.
      • It is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, and generates billions of dollars in profits for its perpetrators every year.
      • According to the Polaris Project, more than 200,000 American children are at risk for being lured into sex trafficking each year.
      • Almost 20 percent of the 800,000 trafficking victims in the U.S. travel through Texas , usually on the Interstate 10 corridor.
  • 3. Human Trafficking in Texas
  • 4. Human Trafficking in Texas
    • Current legislation
    • Recommendations of The Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force Report to the Texas Legislature and proposed legislation
  • 5. The Current State of Texas
    • The border between Texas and Mexico is North America ’ s number one supply site for young children used in sex and labor trafficking.
    • In 2003, Texas was the first state to pass legislation criminalizing human trafficking.
  • 6. Trafficking of Persons in Texas
    • A person commits an offense if the person knowingly :
      • Traffics another person with the intent or knowledge that the trafficked person will engage in forced labor or services, OR
      • Benefits from participating in a venture that involves an activity described above, including by receiving labor or services the person knows to be forced.
      • Tex. Penal Code 20A.02(2010)
  • 7. Texas Juvenile Probation Commission: Report to the 82 nd Legislature
    • The Texas Juvenile Probation Commission issued a report on the alternatives to incarcerating juveniles involved in prostitution.
    • Legislative suggestions:
      • Increase penalties for traffickers and solicitors of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST).
      • Align the Texas definition of human trafficking to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, including a specific provision for minors engaged in human trafficking.
      • Require CPS to investigate all cases of DMST for abuse and/or neglect in the household.
      • Ensure that juveniles who are charged with acts of prostitution and are found to be victims of trafficking have their records sealed upon the completion of terms of supervision.
  • 8. The Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force Report to the Texas Legislature
    • The Task Force was created on September 1, 2009 and will last for four years.
    • The Task Force established the Child Victims Subcommittee to address the needs of minor victims. The group focused on the needs for short and long-term housing for children.
      • The Task Force is examining additional housing options.
  • 9. Recommendations from the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force Report
    • Remove the requirement that prosecutors prove force, fraud and coercion for sex trafficking cases involving minors.
    • Include trafficking of persons and compelling prostitution in the list of previous offenses that would require the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to refuse to issue a license or permit for a specific location.
    • Expand special testimony and evidentiary provisions for child victims in human trafficking cases.
    • Increase the penalties against offenders who employ, authorize, or induce a child to work in a sexually oriented business.
    • Report available online at: https://www.oag.state.tx.us/AG_Publications/pdfs/human_trafficking.pdf
  • 10. 82 nd Session Legislative Proposals
  • 11. Senate Bill 98
    • Author: Senator Leticia Van de Putte
    • “ Shell bill ” will include the portions that are agreed on.
    • Calls for convicted traffickers to serve at least half of their sentences before being eligible for parole.
    • Increases the minimum jail time for offenders to 25 years in prison.
    • Extends civil statute of limitation for victims.
  • 12. Senate Bill 98
    • Section 20A.03 of the Penal Code is amended to state that a person commits an offense of trafficking of a child in furtherance of sexual conduct or performance if he knowingly traffics a child, regardless if he is aware of the child ’ s age; or if the actor receives a benefit from participating in a trafficking venture.
    • Section 33.013(b) of the Penal Code is amended to read that each defendant is jointly and severally liable for damages recoverable by the claimant if the defendant acted in concert with another person with the specific intent to cause harm legally recoverable by the claimant
      • Now including trafficking of a child in furtherance of sexual conduct or performance or continuous trafficking of persons.
    • Amends the Texas Criminal Code to require convicted traffickers to register as sex offenders.
    • Provides victims with the option of videotaping their statement in court in order to avoid facing their alleged trafficker.
  • 13. House Bill 1122
    • Author: Weber
    • Like SB 98, this bill removes the more restrictive provisions, focusing on acts performed or provided by another persona and obtained through an actor ’ s use of force, fraud, or coercion.
    • Section 161.001 of the Family Code is amended to read that a court can order termination of the parent-child relationship if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the parent has been convicted or has been placed on community supervision for compelling prostitution, prostitution, or trafficking of persons.
    • Section 262.2015(b) of the Family Code amended to read that a parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances if the parent engaged in conduct against the child that would constitute an offense under prostitution, compelling prostitution, or trafficking of persons.
  • 14. House Bill 1122
    • Section 15.031(b) of the Penal Code is amended to read that a person commits an offense if with intent than an offense such as trafficking of persons or compelling prostitution be committed, the person by any means requests, commands, or attempts to induce a minor or another who the person believes to be a minor engage in specific conduct that would constitute an offense.
    • Article 18.021(a) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure is amended to read that a search warrant may be issued to search for and photograph a child who is alleged to be the victim of the offenses of injury o a child including compelling prostitution or trafficking of persons.
  • 15. House Bill 1121
    • Creates a “continuous human trafficking" offense similar to 3G related offenses.
      • Aligns with Governor Perry’s initiatives.
    • Section 12.42(c)(2) of the Penal Code is amended to read that a defendant shall be punished by imprisonment for life if the defendant is convicted of an offense including the continuous trafficking of persons, or if the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense including trafficking of persons.
  • 16. House Bill 175
    • The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code (TABC) states that TABC can refuse a permit or a license to an applicant for a period of three years if that applicant’s previous permit was voluntarily surrendered on a protest pertaining to prostitution, or other violent acts.
    • HB 175 allows for the denial of the application for renewal of an on-premise consumption only permit if the applicant (or his spouse) has committed a felony in the past 5 years, including those dealing with prostitution and human trafficking.
  • 17. Senate Bill 152
    • Author: Huffman
    • Evidence of similar offenses can be admitted in trial of the alleged relevant offense in the trials dealing with sexual abuse of a child, including online solicitation of a minor.
  • 18. House Bill 289
    • Author: Jim Jackson
    • Prevent businesses from receiving the required license permit required by Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code section 125.0015.
    • A person who maintains a place to which persons habitually go for the purpose of human trafficking and furthermore fails to make reasonable attempts to stop the activity maintains a common nuisance
  • 19. House Bill 296
    • Author: Berman
    • An officer may stop and detain an individual he believes to be involved in human trafficking, regardless of his subjective intent.
    • The arrest can be made without a warrant if the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect committed an act of human trafficking.
  • 20. Senate Bill 170
    • Author: Ellis
    • Calls for the Task Force on Indigent Defense Commission to contain a representative from local law enforcement agencies that are affected by human trafficking and representatives of nongovernmental entities who are making efforts to combat human trafficking.
    • Members who are involved and experienced in human trafficking will help in prosecuting and defending persons charged with human trafficking.
  • 21. Governor Perry ’s Stance
    • "Washington's recent efforts to shore up border security are a good first step, but much more needs to be done ."
    • "Until Washington fully engages, Texas will keep pressing the issue and taking the fight to the criminal element that seeks to exploit our porous border, committing terrible crimes against our citizens in the process."
  • 22. Human Trafficking Across the United States
  • 23. Human Trafficking, a National Crisis
    • Estimated 150,000 American children trafficked within the country each year.
    • Estimated 18,000 persons trafficked annually into the U.S.
  • 24. William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act
    • Signed into law on December 23, 2008.
    • Authorized appropriations for fiscal years 2008 through 2011 for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
    • Minors are defined as persons under 18 years of age.
    • Minors treated as VICTIMS .
  • 25. William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008
      • Penalizes those who knowingly benefit from participating in a venture that engaged in trafficking.
      • Only requires that the defendant had a reasonable opportunity to observe the minor victim, actual knowledge of the victim ’ s age is not required.
      • Previously , the government was required to prove that the defendant actually knew that force, fraud, or coercion would be used to cause a person to engage in a commercial sex act.
      • New language only requires that the defendant acted in reckless disregard of the fact that such means would be used.
  • 26. Benefits of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act
    • T- Visa
      • Allows victims to remain in the United States and become eligible for work authorization
      • After 3 years victims may apply to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident.
    • Healthcare
    • Job training
    • Education
  • 27. Efforts and Opportunities
  • 28. Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2010
    • Objectives:
      • Authorize block grants to establish an approach emphasizing the needs of the victim.
      • Provide funding to improve the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system, which is required in order to receive federal funding.
    • The Act would provide:
      • $45 million to fund the sex trafficking grant programs.
      • $1.5 million to conduct annual evaluations.
      • $3.5 million to design and implement improvements to the NCIC database.
  • 29. Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2010
    • Grant eligibility
      • Seven requirements including providing a shelter for minor victims of sex trafficking, establishing rehabilitative care to minor victims of sex trafficking, and developing a verification process that includes arrangements with state child welfare agencies to allow minor victims of sex trafficking immediate access to State-administered medical care.
    • Funds used for legal services for minor victims of sex trafficking; shelters.
  • 30. Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2010
    • House Bill 5575
      • Authorizes $45 million to fund the sex trafficking grant programs.
    • In December 2010, the Senate passed its version of the bill and the House passed the same bill, but with two amendments.
    • Due to these amendments, the amended bill went back to the Senate for approval; however, the session closed before the Senate could vote on it.
  • 31. What ’s Going on in Houston?
  • 32. Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
    • Mandi Sheridan Kimball, MSW
    • [email_address]
    • 713.869.7740