2013 Texas Legislature Human Trafficking Bill
Officials estimate that approximately 100,000 American children are exploited in the commercial sex industry annually. Due in part to geographic relation to other nations as well as numerous interstate systems, Texas has become a central location for trafficking activity. According to Texas Attorney General Greg “traffickers have turned Texas into a hub for international and domestic forced labor and prostitution rings.” The U.S. Department for Health and Human Services claims that 25% of human trafficking victims in the United States are in Texas, and labeled the I-10 corridor between Houston and El Paso the main trafficking route in the U.S. Because human trafficking is a new consideration in the justice system, laws need to be reevaluated to include this prevalent issue.
Senate Bill No. 1312 applies to defendants who are charged with a felony due to sexual offense of any individual under the age of 14. The legislation specifically includes the crime of “trafficking of persons,” an addition that is crucial to the proper legal handling of trafficking cases. This bill includes cases in which the defendant “trafficked the victim with the intent or knowledge that the victim would engage in sexual conduct” and those who “benefited from participating in a venture that involved a trafficked victim engaging in sexual conduct.” As a result of this bill, then, both traffickers and the people who pay for sexual interactions with victims of trafficking can be punished accordingly. The bill also creates a new requirement that those found guilty of trafficking offer restitution to victims.
You can read the full text of the bill here: