AG Paxton Hosts Press Conference for Human Trafficking Awareness Month
Published 3:13 pm Friday, January 13, 2017
AUSTIN – At a press conference recognizing January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Attorney General Ken Paxton today highlighted the work of his office’s human trafficking section and announced a new initiative to mobilize as many Texans as possible in the fight against trafficking. He was joined by state Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) and Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), who have been at the forefront of legislation to combat human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery.
During the press conference, Attorney General Paxton announced that in September of this year, his office will complete a comprehensive training video on human trafficking awareness. It will initially be made available to all 315,000 state employees and is mandatory viewing for the office of the attorney general’s 4,000 employees. “I am challenging my fellow state agency heads to follow suit,” he said. The video is intended to teach viewers how to detect and report suspected human trafficking activity.
One of Attorney General Paxton’s first initiatives after taking office was the creation in January 2016 of a special unit dedicated to strengthening efforts in Texas to catch and prosecute traffickers. He noted that under the leadership of Deputy Criminal Chief Kirsta Leeburg Melton, the agency’s Human Trafficking/Transnational Organized Crime section (HTTOC) has already assisted or consulted on dozens of cases, such as the arrest of the CEO of Backpage.com, whose online “adult” ads have been linked to sex trafficking of women and children. In addition, HTTOC teamed up with Truckers Against Trafficking and the Texas Trucking Association on an innovative public-private program that puts more eyes and ears on the road to help catch human trafficking. Last year, HTTOC provided human trafficking awareness training to almost 8,000 people across the state, including law enforcement officials, educators, medical professionals, students and lawyers.
“As Texas makes strides toward eliminating this horrific and dehumanizing crime, it is imperative to inform and train as many Texans as possible on how to recognize and report suspected human trafficking,” Attorney General Paxton said. “With the development of this training video along with the already strong programs developed by our human trafficking section, we hope to reach as many people as we can throughout the state. I applaud our team’s constant work in educating Texans on such an important issue.”
For more information, including how to recognize and report a suspected trafficking case, and additional resources, please visit this website: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cj/human-trafficking