Texas Border Business
In the face of evil, it is often all too easy to become overwhelmed by what we cannot change. For the sake of the men, women, and children caught within the nightmare that is modern-day slavery, I ask that we as a state focus instead on what is in our power to control. Sometimes all it takes is one person, one moment, one act to save an innocent life. That is the power of one, and that is what my office seeks to facilitate as we work our way through Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
When I was sworn in as attorney general, I immediately identified human trafficking as among the most heinous crimes plaguing our society. I thus made its elimination a top priority for my office and dedicated resources towards the creation of the Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime section (HTTOC), which specializes in investigating and prosecuting those who would exploit slave labor.
One of the challenges we face, however, is that human trafficking is hard to detect. Victims are often isolated, alienated, fearful, and under the thumb of traffickers who may control even the most basic aspects of their lives. It therefore falls to the community—to their family, friends, and neighbors—to learn the warning signs and then report their suspicions to the appropriate authorities.
I am proud to report that Texas will soon have a new arrow in its community-empowerment quiver. As I announced at a January 12th press conference, my office is in the midst of producing an in-depth training video, which will share the story of human trafficking from the perspective of those who have endured it and from those who saw it and did something about it. The video will help all who view it understand how modern-day slavery operates, recognize the warning signs, and know what to do and who to call if the worst should happen.
HTTOC has conducted over 100 in-person trainings since its inception one year ago, but their insight, until now, has been confined to those in attendance. Our new education video, which we expect to be completed in September, will empower all. I have already made arrangements for the entirety of my staff to receive this crucial training once it is available. I challenge my fellow state agency heads to follow suit.
The evil of human trafficking is significant, but even it cannot endure under the might of Texans united behind one another and vigilant of its grasp. Together, we can ensure that victims will be identified and rescued, and that traffickers will find themselves behind bars.
I invite you to read my op-ed in the Dallas Morning News to learn more about our upcoming training video as well as the work my office has done to eliminate human trafficking: