Wednesday, April 27, 2011

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Attorney General Abbott Recognized by Texas Nonprofit Children at Risk for Efforts to Protect Texas Children

AUSTIN—Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today joined Texas Legislators and Children at Risk, a nonprofit that works to improve the quality of life for children, to observe Human Trafficking Advocacy Day. Today’s event on the steps of the Texas Capitol was organized to raise public awareness about human trafficking – and its devastating impact on children. Attorney General Abbott joined Dr. Robert Sanborn, President and CEO of Children at Risk, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Rep. Senfronia Thompson and Rep. Randy Weber.

“Human traffickers use force, fraud and coercion to compel their victims into modern-day slavery. Collaboration between law enforcement and groups like Children at Risk is absolutely essential to combating this heinous crime,” Attorney General Abbott told rally participants. “On Human Trafficking Advocacy Day, I am honored to join the dedicated officials who are leading the state’s efforts to eradicate human trafficking and protect innocent children.

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Attorney General Abbott speaks at a rally on the steps of
the Texas Capitol observing Human Trafficking Advocacy Day

Attorney General Abbott added: “Dr. Sanborn and Children at Risk are championing initiatives like their Center to End the Trafficking & Exploitation of Children, which will help ensure victims in our state find a safe haven from their traffickers. Equally important, thanks to Sen. Van de Putte, Rep. Thompson and Rep. Weber, Texas will have the laws necessary to ensure the Lone Star State is hostile territory to the traffickers who attempt to profit from this horrific criminal enterprise.”

Attorney General Abbott has made protecting Texas children and preventing human trafficking a top priority. Emphasizing the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force – which he chairs – and its efforts to work with officials across the state, Attorney General Abbott provided an update on the task force’s efforts to identify, investigate and prosecute trafficking. Recently, a joint investigation by the task force determined that a woman and her three children were trapped in a forced-labor situation after they were smuggled into El Paso through a tunnel running under the U.S.-Mexico border. Two of the smugglers were identified and indicted on human trafficking charges. Last year the Texas Attorney General’s office, along with federal law enforcement agencies, also successfully obtained a 33-year prison sentence against a Houston-area man who conducted a sex trafficking operation involving a 16-year-old pregnant female.

Attorney General Abbott has also expressed his strong support for Senate Bill 24 and House Bill 7, which implement the 2011 Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force report’s legislative recommendations.

For more information about the Office of the Attorney General’s battle against human trafficking and a copy of the 2011 Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force report, visit the agency’s website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.