Texas Border Business
MCALLEN – Law Enforcement officials and Hidalgo County joined with the Governor’s Office and anti-human trafficking partners by launching the “Can You See Me” campaign, which is sponsored by Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott. The campaign launched today in Hidalgo County with a news conference at Art’s Trucks & Equipment.
Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. and Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez were among the featured speakers. Rodriguez shared a prosecutor’s perspective and Judge Cortez spoke on the importance of public awareness in battling human trafficking. Other speakers in the event include State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez, Texas DPS South Texas Director Victor Escalon, Alan Schonborn, Administrator for Strategic Development, Child Sex Trafficking Team, in the Office of Governor Greg Abbott, and other anti-human trafficking partners.
“The Hidalgo County Commissioners Court and I strongly support any and all efforts to bring these heinous crimes into the light of day,” said Cortez.
In January of this year, Rodriguez garnered national attention by establishing the first-ever Human Trafficking Unit focused on agricultural labor and has worked diligently to defend and protect all victims.
“In forced labor, workers are often tied to the employers who hold them hostage to the job by taking away their immigration documents,” Rodriguez said. “They come to our country to work and then find that their wages are withheld or they are paid less than promised; they may work long hours with limited access to food and water, and some also suffer verbal or physical abuse. This is not acceptable.”
The multi-media campaign highlights the realities of human trafficking in the U.S. and was sponsored by Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott in partnership with the global anti-human trafficking organization A21 and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Texas. It is designed to equip the public to recognize indicators of human trafficking and report suspicious behavior to dedicated hotline numbers.