Get information on how Texas is doing on combatting trafficking and find out how to contact state policymakers!
Note: All information on this page relates to state-level anti-trafficking legislation and policymakers. Please refer to the National page of this site, or your state Congressional Scorecard for information on federal legislation and policymakers.
Polaris Project ranks every state in the country based on their laws to fight human trafficking. Texas has passed 8 out of 10 critical anti-trafficking laws identified by Polaris Project.
As a result, Polaris has rated Texas
Tier One (Green)
Click here for the full Polaris Project 2012 Texas State Ratings Report.
***Thanks to your advocacy efforts, the 2013 Texas Legislative Session has produced strong anti-trafficking legislation! Learn more below***
In 2013 IJM worked with our partners at Polaris Project to see stronger anti-trafficking bills passed in key states around the country, particularly those that provide 'safe harbor' protections and services to sexually exploited minors. In TEXAS we particularly focused on SB 92/HB 91 - and your response was amazing!
Over 11,000 Texans advocated with IJM, joining many more anti-trafficking advocates and organizations across the state to let their legislators know that they want to see children protected, not prosecuted, in their state - with strong rehabilitative services for people who have been trafficked. READ THE FULL REPORT AND WATCH A MUSIC VIDEO OF YOUR EFFORTS HERE.
All bills can be tracked and read in full HERE.
The 'Safe Harbor' Bill - SB 92/HB 91 - These identical bills (led by Sen. Van de Putte, above, in the Senate, and Rep. Senfronia Thompson in the House) include provisions that prevent sexually exploited children from being prosecuted for prostitution. These provisions also provide specialized services for sexually exploited children. The current problem is that as is, minors engaged in prostitution are viewed as criminals under Texas law (especially those over 13). Minors are often brought to multiple courts so no judge sees the full picture of abuse and minors are not given the proper services needed to overcome victimization of sex trafficking. SB 92/HB 91 specifically addresses and fixes these problems, and ensures that child sex trafficking victims in Texas are protected, not prosecuted.
How the bill helps (and how it works):
- Minors are sent to one, specialized diversion court when they are brought in for "prostitution"
- The same judge has access to all of their files, including child welfare and juvenile justice files
- Pre-adjudication, minors give their consent to participate in a program designed to treat and rehabilitate them with proper wrap-around services
- Minors are still required to check in with their judge to report on improvement
- If minors do not complete services programs, or choose not to participate, they may then charged with the CINS offense
- If minors complete the services program, their offense is dismissed (pre-adjudication) and is not a part of their permanent record
The 'Civil Cause of Action' Bill - SB 94/HB 90 - These identical bills would allow victims of forced prostitution to sue his or her trafficker for civil damages.
Governor Perry signed both bills into law over Memorial Day weekend after hearing from hundreds of you in just over a week after they arrived at his office!
Please take a moment to call your legislators and the Governor and thank them for hearing you and taking these important steps for victims of human trafficking in Texas! You can look up your state legislators HERE and call the Governor’s switchboard at 512.463.2000.
(You can find Texas’ federal Members of Congress, and how they vote on anti-trafficking legislation, by visiting our Congressional Scorecard on the State page)
View Polaris Project’s list of select local anti-trafficking organizations and service providers in Texas.