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Texas takes tough stance on traffickers

by | Jun 12, 2019 | Latest

A clear “Don’t Mess with Texas” message was delivered with the passage of five bills signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Last Tuesday, June 4 the governor traveled to Dallas for a signing ceremony held at the New Friends New Life Youth Resource Center in Dallas, an organization that provides aid and assistance to formerly trafficked teenage girls, sexually exploited women, and their children. The bills signed at the ceremony will help combat trafficking and aid in reducing rape kit backlog in Texas.

The bipartisan bills are as follows:

• House Bill 8 will tackle the rape kit backlog in Texas by requiring an audit of untested kits, establishing timelines for results to be submitted, and extending the statute of limitations.

• Senate Bill 20 enhances tools to fight online sex trafficking, increases the penalties for buyers, and creates a process for victims to clear their records of certain offenses committed solely as a victim of trafficking. House Bill 8 will tackle the rape kit backlog in Texas by requiring an audit of untested kits, establishing timelines for results to be submitted, and extending the statute of limitations.

• House Bill 1590 creates a Sexual Assault Survivors’ Task Force within the Office of the Governor to catalog services, identify gaps, and coordinate efforts across the state to strategically address sexual assault.

• House Bill 2613 directs forfeited proceeds from stash houses to services that aid victims of human trafficking.

• Senate Bill 71 establishes a statewide telehealth center to expand victim access to specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.

“Survivors of the horrific crimes of sexual assault and human trafficking deserve justice, and I am committed to protecting Texans and ensuring offenders are punished to the fullest extent of the law. These laws ensure that survivors are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve and that they are given a seat at the table as we work to eradicate sexual assault and human trafficking across the Lone Star State,” said Gov. Abbott.

For more stories like this, see the June 12 issue or subscribe online.

From Staff Reports • [email protected]

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