Sunday, April 3, 2011


Mar 29, 2011
Texas received so much trafficking-related attention during the Super Bowl; it was easy to forget that SB 98 was quietly making its way through the state’s legislative process. But four months and 370 supporters later, the anti-trafficking bill passed without a hitch.
What does this mean for the Lone Star State? Tougher laws on sex and labor trafficking and harsher penalties for child trafficking.




Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio)


Dana Liebelson
Washington, DC


Each year, about 10,000 people are trafficked through Texas for the purpose of prostitution. For every three calls made to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, one will be from the Lone Star state. And to make matters worse, the Super Bowl, a massive attraction for prostitution, will be held next February in Dallas. Although Texas has done a terrific job of taking preemptive measures to crack down on pimps and sex traffickers—including proposing a new trafficking law—it is still neglecting victims. Urge Texan lawmakers to allot funds for trafficking shelters as part of SB 98. 
A common theme among victims is that they simply have no place to go. When one victim, a Thai woman named Kiki, managed to pay off her “debt” to her pimp (earning him over US$200,000)—she was locked out of her massage parlor in the middle of the night. With no alternative shelter, she asked to be let back in. Later, when she was brutally raped by knifepoint, she called the only phone number she knew—her pimp’s. Trafficking victims need shelters that provide care and security tailored to their predicament, and they need to know about them (one good example of this is the recent poster campaign in Washington). 
A legislative assistant for Sen. Van de Putte recently told The Texas Tribune that SB 98 is a “shell bill,” and will include the parts that people agree on. Let’s agree that shelters for victims of sex trafficking are just as important as law enforcement when it comes to combating this national problem.