Gov. Rick Perry today helped launch a statewide advertising campaign to combat human trafficking in Texas. The campaign will consist of public service billboards in 15 Texas cities, public service announcements on radio and television, advertisements on Yellow Cabs and posters.
"Human trafficking is more than just a crime against humanity, it's an ongoing tragedy for the people caught up in its snares and their families who rarely even know if their loved ones are dead or alive," Gov. Perry said. "This modern-day slave trade is an affront to basic human decency, a product of the very worst among us - criminals who prey on the hopes and dreams of others and subjugate them through the threat of violence or death."
The campaign is a joint venture between the Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition (HRRC), Outdoor Advertising Association of Texas and FBI. Gov. Perry was joined at today's announcement by State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, HRRC Executive Director Maria Trujillo, President and Chief Operating Officer of Clear Channel Outdoor North America Suzanne Grimes and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw.
"I am glad that Texas is continuing to be at the forefront of this fight and thank the Outdoor Advertising Association for putting this issue on their billboards and helping to put an end to this form of modern day slavery," Rep. Thompson said.
"The despicable criminals who engage in human trafficking and target vulnerable individuals - including innocent children - are forcing their victims into modern-day slavery and servitude," McCraw said, "Preventing and disrupting this type of criminal activity is a top priority for the state, and all efforts to heighten public awareness about these crimes are critical to our success in combatting these heinous crimes."
In 2011 Gov. Perry signed into law two bills that increased penalties for individuals who commit human trafficking offenses in Texas, and he proclaimed Feb. 27, 2014 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Texas.