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News Release

May 15, 2014

DPS Provides Legislative Testimony on Human Trafficking

Releases human trafficking threat assessment
AUSTIN – Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw today provided testimony at the Joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking, co-chaired by State Representative Senfronia Thompson and State Senator Joan Huffman. Director McCraw also provided members of the committee with a state intelligence estimate, Assessing the Threat of Human Trafficking in Texas, that was developed to provide a broad overview of human trafficking activity in the state. This report is now available to the public at http://www.dps.texas.gov/director_staff/media_and_communications/2014/txHuman
TraffickingAssessment.pdf
.

“My colleagues and I are committed to protecting victims and combatting the perpetrators involved in the human trafficking industry, which poses a significant threat to public safety in Texas,” said Sen. Joan Huffman. “Based on the DPS threat assessment on this issue, law enforcement agencies will be better positioned to protect the public and develop proactive strategies to prevent these crimes.”

“Texas has been in the forefront of the battle against human trafficking for many years,” said Rep. Senfronia Thompson.  “As we continue to study ways to combat this heinous crime, I applaud DPS for continuing the fight to end this form of modern-day slavery through their recent assessment report, which I believe will prove to be a powerful tool for law enforcement agencies in pursuing these criminals and bringing justice to the victims.”

In Texas, human trafficking involves the recruitment, harboring, transporting or procurement of any person for labor or services for the purpose of involuntary servitude, slavery or forced commercial sex acts. This report is based on the collaboration between multiple law enforcement, homeland security and government agencies across the state and nation, whose contributions were essential in creating an in-depth understanding of the threat of human trafficking in Texas.

“Human trafficking exploits vulnerable individuals – including innocent children – and subjects victims to violence, extortion, forced labor, sexual assault and, in many cases, prostitution. We are grateful for the Texas Legislature’s leadership in helping to combat this deplorable industry,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Preventing and detecting these crimes is a matter of utmost importance at DPS, and this assessment enhances our ability to pursue the criminal organizations perpetrating these vile crimes.”

As was noted in today’s committee hearing and in the report, estimates of the scale of human trafficking activity vary, and existing measures provide a limited view of this criminal activity. These limitations are due to multiple factors, including chronic under-reporting of these crimes.

Additional significant findings in the assessment include:

To view Director McCraw’s written testimony submitted to the Joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking, visit http://www.dps.texas.gov/director_staff/media_and_communications/2014/Human
TraffickingAssessmentMay2014.pdf
.

### (HQ 2014-059)