Senator Van de Putte and Representative Thompson Pass Legislation to Strengthen Human Trafficking Laws
(AUSTIN) — Today, Senate Bill 24, companion to House Bill 7, by Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) and Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) respectively, was successfully passed by both the Senate and House.
"As one of the first pieces of legislation to pass both chambers, I commend the Legislature for recognizing the importance and urgency of this problem," states Thompson.
"With the passage of Senate Bill 24, "Combating Human Trafficking Act," we will save at least one more child, grandchild, brother, sister, neighbor, or friend from a life of forced misery, " Adds Van de Putte.
Senate Bill 24 and House Bill 7, incorporate recommendations from the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force report issued by the Attorney General in January 2011. These recommendations reflect the efforts to create a statewide partnership between law enforcement agencies, social service providers, non-governmental organizations, legal representatives, and state agencies who are fighting on the front line against human trafficking.
"I am proud to have worked with Governor Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott, and my dear friend, Representative Senfronia Thompson, who has led the charge in the House and locked arms with so many community leaders from the beginning to strengthen human trafficking laws." states Van de Putte. "Together, we are moving the state forward in the fight to end modern day slavery."
"Senate Bill 24 and House Bill 7 reflect the collaboration and efforts by so many. I commend the work of my colleagues and the work of this legislature," adds Thompson. "As one of the first bills to be sent to the Governor for signing, this truly reflects the united stand that Texas is taking against human trafficking."
Some of the legislative recommendations that are incorporated in Senate Bill 24 and House Bill 7 are:
- Enhancement of the human trafficking statute by clarifying the definitions of sex and labor trafficking
- Extending the criminal statute of limitations for human trafficking crimes
- Increasing the penalty for compelling prostitution of a child to a felony of the first degree
"At last, Texas has declared that there will be zero tolerance for human trafficking," states Van De Putte.