Protecting our Communities from Human Trafficking

Wednesday marked the 50th legislative day of the 116th Congress. Under my leadership, House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans have introduced 50 forward-leaning, bipartisan policy solutions to advance our shared global interests and respond to today’s emerging threats.

One of the top focus areas of our committee members is to find policy solutions to help end the massive threat posed by human and sex trafficking. One of those bills, H.R. 295 – the End Banking for Human Traffickers Act, provides financial institutions and regulators with the resources and tools to better detect and prevent human trafficking and would open another avenue for law enforcement to hold perpetrators accountable for their heinous crimes.

You can click here or on the video below to learn more.

Ending human trafficking remains a major focus of mine while I am back home in the district as well.

Just last week, I met with Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance coming on the heels of the incredible success of Tri-Point, the 47-person arrest in Katy and Fort Bend County. I have long said a comprehensive approach is the only solution to tackling this heinous crime; one that brings together local, state, and federal law enforcement with survivor advocacy and support groups to increase community awareness.

Their organization does exactly that and has been recognized as a national model for its partnerships and collaborative approach in denying and assisting the victims of human trafficking, while bringing swift justice to those responsible.

I also met with incredible local heroes at The Refuge who are combating the evils of sex trafficking and serving our local community. Sadly, there are currently 79,000 young adults and minors being sex trafficked in Texas. Prior to the opening of The Refuge Ranch, Texas only had 24 beds available for child survivors’ long-term recovery from trauma.

The Refuge has stepped in to fill a great need by providing long-term, residential, therapeutic community for 48 girls, minors through age 19, who have been rescued out of sex trafficking. This is a first-of-its-kind facility for Central Texas.

It was great to share my recent visit to The Refuge with Bastrop Mayor Connie Schroder. The CEO and Founder of The Refuge, Brooke Crowder, talked to us about the long-term support the center provides and the incredible difference they’ve made in the lives of girls here in Texas.

I remain fully committed to ending human trafficking. In fact, earlier this Congress, I introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation, H.R. 836 – the Interdiction for the Protection of Child Victims of Exploitation and Human Trafficking Act, to expand the training of another program started here in Texas by the Department of Public Safety. My legislation would establish a pilot program to help law enforcement officials nationwide to better recognize the signs of human trafficking, especially as traffickers continue to advance their recruitment tactics online.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the U.S. Congress. It remains my greatest honor and privilege. You can reach me by email here or sign up to receive news updates here. Please stay involved with the conversation on my Facebook page and follow me on twitter for updates and breaking news. For behind-the-scenes photos from TX-10 and Washington, DC follow me on Instagram.


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