Wednesday, November 17, 2010

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Texas' Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force Convenes In Arlington

ARLINGTON – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today convened the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force for a meeting in Arlington. Officials representing local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and non-governmental organizations gathered to discuss human trafficking prevention, including the State’s efforts during the 2011 NFL Super Bowl.

Human trafficking is a crime that involves recruiting, harboring, transporting or obtaining a person and forcing that person to labor against their will. Human trafficking includes involuntary servitude, slavery or forced commercial sexual acts. The U.S. Department of State estimates that 12.3 million adults and children are currently victims of forced labor and prostitution worldwide.

“The Super Bowl can have a tremendously positive economic impact on North Texas – we just want to ensure human traffickers don’t share in the profits,” Attorney General Abbott said. “The Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force is working to ensure that law enforcement officials have a coordinated response to both unsuspecting victims and the criminals who traffic them. By working proactively to prepare for the 2011 NFL Super Bowl, Task Force members will be better positioned to crack down on traffickers and provide desperately needed services to human trafficking victims.”

In addition to coordinating efforts to prevent trafficking during the Super Bowl, the Task Force reviewed initiatives that Dallas-area Task Force members have implemented since the Task Force’s inaugural meeting last January. Attorney General Abbott also spoke to the group about human trafficking investigations and prosecutions in the State of Texas.

In 2008, the OAG conducted a legislatively mandated study of human trafficking study, which resulted in a 57-page report, “The Texas Response to Human Trafficking.” The report included 21 recommendations that were intended to reduce human trafficking and improve services to victims. Among the report’s recommendations were statutory changes and outreach efforts that would help educate law enforcement about human trafficking and its victims. The OAG is currently working on the 2010 “The Texas Response to Human Trafficking” report, which is due to the Legislature Dec. 1. For more information about the OAG’s battle against human trafficking, visit the agency website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.