Six months after an investigation revealed sex trafficking victims were losing out in Texas, the situation has improved little, according to a report.
Earlier this year, a Texas Tribune series of articles exposed how a campaign against sex trafficking over the last 10 years did little to help victims. Children have proved to be particularly vulnerable.
The Tribune article noted how the 2017 legislative session, which ended in May, once again concentrated on sex traffickers rather than their victims.
The article claimed the legislators stripped money for the victims of sex traffickers behind closed doors.
The Texas legislature passed some get-tough measures targeted at sex traffickers. They included.
Increasing the Sanctions for Prostitution
The Texas legislature increased the penalties for people who are involved in the “promotion of prostitution.”
Rather than directly selling sex these acts could include driving a seller to meet a buyer or posting an ad for sex online.
Boosting Education and Public Outreach on Sex Trafficking
New bills were sent to the desk of Governor Greg Abbott requiring truck drivers to receive training on sex trafficking and posting signs in strip clubs, abortion clinics and hospital emergency rooms aimed at reaching potential trafficking victims.
Refinements to the nuisance laws would make it easier to close down massage parlors that are a front for prostitution.
The Tribune reported legislators were less successful in enacting changes that would benefit the victims of sex trafficking.
For instance, many sex trafficking victims wind up in the criminal justice system charged with crimes such as prostitution, theft, and drug possession.
A sex trafficker may have helped them commit these crimes. A bill that would have made it easier for them to expunge their criminal records was backed in the House but foundered in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.
A bill that was aimed at reducing the penalties for selling sex in Texas never made it to a vote in either chamber.
All too frequently the victims of sex trafficking end up in jail because Texas lacks facilities to help them, the Tribune reported.
If you have been charged with an offense of this nature, our Austin criminal defense lawyers can help you. Please call us at (512) 474-4445 or contact us here.