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Texas Lawmakers Aim to Put the Brakes on Human Trafficking

Liang Shi, KUT News

Each year human traffickers force thousands of people into slave-like conditions. Several major highways in Texas make the state a hub for human traffickers.

State Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) authored a bill that she hopes will deter people from forcing others into involuntary labor or services – often including prostitution."It really, really bothers me because I know that person is going to end up feeling very bad about themselves and it will take years for psychological recovery…if they ever recover at all," Rep. Thompson said. "So we are costing society a lot of money by allowing these persons to perpetrate these crimes."

The bill was presented to the House Judiciary and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on Monday. It increases penalties for people convicted of trafficking and makes them ineligible for community supervision and parole.

Victims would qualify to receive relocation help under the Crime Victims’ Compensation Act.
Rep. Thompson says Texas accounts for about 20 percent of all people trafficked in the United States. Often they’re transported along the I-10 corridor – which stretches from California to Florida.

Last year, Texas officials arrested 179 people for human trafficking.

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