Texas legislators are fighting for the rights of victims of human trafficking by sponsoring bills that would create stronger penalties for human traffickers. North Texas State Sen. John Cornyn filled a bill called “The Human Trafficking Reporting Act.” Rep. John Carter from Austin’s district 31 filled the companion bill for the House of Representatives.
The bill will label human trafficking as a “Part I violent crimes” offense. Currently this includes murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. If the bill passes it will assist the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, with the inclusion of human trafficking.
It will also help with needed funding for law enforcement agencies to train officials to detect and deter human trafficking. This type of funding is only available for crimes that are considered a “Part I violent crime.”
“We must work together, at every level of government, to equip law enforcement with the tools they need to crack down on human traffickers. Our bill will aid Texas and other state and local governments as they battle organized criminal syndicates and violent gangs that traffic humans for labor and sex,” said Sen. Cornyn.
Sen. Cornyn is a leading advocate for victims of human trafficking and passionate about helping domestic minor victims of slavery. In 2012 the Senator attempted to get a bill passed that would help prevent websites from selling children for sex through Internet advertising. The issue with legislature was it would regulate websites. That became an issue under the first amendment and a perceived intrusion to free speech. Although, prostitution in almost all states is illegal the fine line between freedom of speech and Internet freedom are interconnected.
“Human traffickers are like cockroaches. They operate in the dark. The American public has no real knowledge of the atrocities going on around the world. The human trafficking bill will be like turning the light on the cockroaches. They’ll scatter and we’ll be able to catch them,” said Congressman John Carter, Chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.
In the changing face of society it is necessary that current legislature address issues that are relevant and specific to the needs of victims of human trafficking in modern day times. “The Human Trafficking Reporting Act” identifies slavery as a priority violent crime which will help law enforcement with the necessary tools to prevent and prosecute traffickers.