Ken Paxton

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Texas Attorney General Abbott, University of Texas at San Antonio Students Raise Human Trafficking Awareness

SAN ANTONIO Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today joined the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at the University of Texas at San Antonio to help raise awareness about the devastating impact human trafficking has on its victims.

Elizabeth Crooks, co-director and co-founder of the Embassy of Hope Center, a San Antonio-based organization that provides support for human trafficking victims, also participated in today’s news conference.

Human trafficking is a horrific crime that deprives its victims of basic human rights, said Attorney General Greg Abbott. Sadly, human trafficking victims are coerced into modern day slave labor and forced prostitution rings. Fortunately, San Antonio is served by organizations like the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, which is working to raise awareness, and the Embassy of Hope Center, which provides desperately needed services to human trafficking victims.

Human trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transporting or obtaining of a person for labor or services that are involuntary servitude, slavery or forced commercial sexual acts.

The U.S. State Department estimates that between 14,500 and 17,500 are trafficked into the U.S. from Asia, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe, and many more are trafficked domestically within the United States each year. Additionally, about one in five people trafficked have been in Texas. Houston and El Paso are included among the U.S. Department of Justice’s most intense trafficking jurisdictions in the country.

The Office of the Attorney General’s studied human trafficking as requested by the Texas Legislature and produced a 57-page report, The Texas Response to Human Trafficking. The report offers 21 recommendations that are intended to reduce human trafficking and improve services to victims, including possible statutory changes and improved outreach efforts that would better educate law enforcement personnel about identifying human trafficking.