Making Democracy Work

Human Trafficking

Updates by Meg Scott-Johnson (Kerrville) Human Trafficking Issue Chair

Testimony

Coalitions and Resources

Resources

  • The Attorney General's website that covers human trafficking
  • Human Trafficking Issues and Warning Signs The League of Women Voters-Hill Country developed an online course about issues of human trafficking.  It is TEA approved for teachers' continuing education credits.  It is free and participants can self-register.  If questions or issues with registration please contact me.  Registration is verified by clicking a link that is emailed to the participant, and since the email has a link, it is often blocked by SPAM filters.  Questions: LWV-Hill Country Leadership Team Member-at- Large Maggie Marsh-Nation, BSIT, MSIDT, R. EEG/EP T., CNIM Alpha eLearning Development & Instructional Design, LLC Independent Training Consultant maggie@alphaelearning.com

  • Children at Risk serves as a catalyst for change to improve the quality of life for children through strategic research, public policy analysis, education, collaboration and advocacy.

  • National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888 help@humantraffickinghotline.org www.humantraffickinghotline.org

  • Polaris Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris systemically disrupts the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom. Our comprehensive model puts victims at the center of what we do + helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate.

Position LW- TX

HUMAN TRAFFICKING - 2014

The League of Women Voters of Texas is opposed to all forms of domestic and international human trafficking of adults and children, including sex trafficking and labor trafficking. We consider human trafficking to be a form of modern-day slavery and support measures to prevent the use of force, fraud or coercion to exploit a person for sexual or labor purposes, to prosecute traffickers and to protect victims.

Federal, state and local governments should collaborate to fund and implement effective strategies for prosecution, including but not limited to:

  • Enact and enforce effective laws against traffickers
  • Require human trafficking training for law enforcement officers and prosecutors
  • Maintain and share reliable trafficking data among all levels of government and with non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Put convicted sex traffickers of children on the National Sex Offender Registry list
  • Enforce civil and criminal penalties against persons who knowingly buy services provided as a result of human trafficking, or buy services from a minor, including mandated awareness training
  • Enact and enforce laws at the appropriate level to shut down businesses that engage in or allow human trafficking Divert victims of human trafficking into justice and rescue programs that provide access to services such as counseling and job training
  • Assume all minors are victims, no proof of coercion required.

Federal, state and local governments, in cooperation with nongovernmental agencies, should fund and provide essential services to and remedies for victims and survivors, including but not limited to:

  • Legal aid, translations and other court-related services
  • Services to shelter victims from their traffickers and help them return to a normal life, such as housing, medical, counseling, job training
  • Ability to sue the trafficker for civil damages
  • Defined roles for child welfare system and juvenile justice system in assisting trafficked minors
  • Guardianship, protective custody and safe houses for trafficked minors when home situation would put the minor at risk.

Federal, state and local governments, in cooperation with nongovernmental agencies, should fund and provide education and awareness programs on human trafficking in our communities and schools, including but not limited to:

  • Training to identify and assist victims or potential victims of human trafficking, for all persons who might come into contact with them, such as medical professionals, law enforcement and prosecution personnel, educators at all levels, mental health professionals, city health inspectors, hotel owners and others
  • Internet safety education for youth, parents and teachers
  • Services and outreach for homeless, throwaway youth and other at-risk populations.

Position LWV-US

The following position was adopted by delegates at the 2014 LWVUS Convention

STATEMENT OF POSITION ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING As adopted at the LWVUS 2014 National Convention The League of Women Voters opposes all forms of domestic and international human trafficking of adults and children, including sex trafficking and labor trafficking. We consider human trafficking to be a form of modern day slavery and believe that every measure should be taken and every effort should be made through legislation and changes in public policy to prevent human trafficking. Prosecution and penalization of traffickers and abusers should be established, and existing laws should be strictly enforced. Extensive essential services for victims should be applied where needed. Education and awareness programs on human trafficking should be established in our communities and in our schools.

Issue Studies and Explanation

Focus: Study the issue of human trafficking in Texas to understand state and local policies as well as the public's role in abating human trafficking.

Scope:

  • Understand the nature and definition of human trafficking;
  • Consider its extent in Texas;
  • Explore how to reduce its occurrence, including considering state and local laws and their enforcement;
  • Assess the components of social services for victims to rescue and restore their lives.

Explanation: This study was recommended by the LWV-Houston Area and six other Leagues. In 2011, LWV-Houston Area completed a study on human trafficking, defined as exploiting persons through force, fraud, or coercion, for the purposes of sex, labor or other involuntary acts. Other local Leagues are also studying this issue. Texas is a part of a national and international problem, and it is an issue that all Leagues need to understand so we can act with one voice as we advocate on state laws pertaining to this issue.

Study Committee: Penny Milbouer (Houston Area), Co-Chair; Ann Herbage (Houston Area),Co-Chair; Meg Scott Johnson (Kerrville Area), Peggy Downing (Tyler/Smith County), Janice Schieffer (LWV-TX Program VP, ex-officio).

Timeline:

  • 2012-2013: Research by the committee. Local Leagues may hold forums to educate members and the public about human trafficking issues.
  • Summer 2013: Facts & Issues published and consensus questions approved by LWV-TX.
  • Fall 2013: Local Leagues reach consensus and report to LWV-TX Board.
  • Winter 2014: Position statement announced and adopted at Convention 2014.

Publications:

Additional Offsite Resources:

History of LWV-TX Action