Human trafficking and more specifically sex trafficking has been a major topic in Texas legislature this session. Our Texas leaders are putting in place a strong foundation for this difficult fight to protect our children from these predators.
I believe one of the bills which will have significant impact on prevention is HB 111 requiring adoption/implementation of a policy addressing sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and other maltreatment of children in public schools. The school district may collaborate with local law enforcement and outside consultants to create the policy which must include a referral protocol for high-risk students. The bill includes a requirement for methods to increase staff, student, and parent awareness, actions to take for assistance and intervention and available counseling options. Training must be provided as part of a new employee orientation and the bill directs inclusion of community organizations that have relevant, existing research-based programs. The Texas governor says this bills is effective immediately which is great news. Trafficking-related bills signed this past month include:
HB 111: Required training for school employees (effective immediately)
HB 403: Required training for school board members and superintendents
SB 72: Establishment of a Human Trafficking prevention coordinating council
SB 71: Establishment of a a state-wide telehealth center for sexual assault medical examination
HB 1590: Establishment of a Sexual Assault Survivors' Task Force including personnel training and improved evidence collection and analysis for sexual assault and other sex offenses
SB 781/HB 1698: Enhanced regulation of residential treatment centers
HCR 35: Recognizing Human Trafficking as a public health issue
SB 20: Increased prosecution of the offense of trafficking of persons; victim compensation; non-disclosure orders
HB 2613: Stronger offenses for operation of a stash house/funding crime victim services from forfeiture of contraband
HB 8: Increasing the statute of limitations for certain offenses committed against children
For more information on these bills and other legislature currently being discussed input the bill number or search "Trafficking" at https://capitol.texas.gov/Home.aspx.
Keep going Texas!!!