Gov. Rick Perry today proclaimed February 27 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Texas as a commitment to bringing awareness to human trafficking prevention efforts.
"Texas has taken strong steps to combat human trafficking, but key to preventing and ending this horrible crime is public awareness that millions still suffer exploitation around the nation and the world," Gov. Perry said. "I urge all Texans to join me today in bringing awareness to this important issue as we continue to fight to bring justice to human trafficking offenders, and help to their victims."
In 2011, Gov. Perry signed House Bill 3000 by State Rep. Senfronia Thompson making continuous trafficking of persons a first degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. Under this law, a second conviction could result in life without parole.
"We all must work together to end this despicable crime that degrades and destroys the lives of its victims in all corners of our country and our world," Rep. Thompson said. "Texas has taken a strong stance against human trafficking and I will continue this fight as long as it takes."
Gov. Perry signed additional legislation enhancing penalties for offenses related to human trafficking involving children. In 2009, the governor worked to create the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force. The Office of the Governor continues to award grants through the Criminal Justice Division to provide training to law enforcement and service providers on how to recognize and prevent human trafficking.