PRESS RELEASE
From the Office of State Senator Leticia Van de Putte

For Immediate Release
December 9, 2011
Contact: Lee Nichols, 512-463-0126

Lt. Gov. Dewhurst Appoints Sen. Van de Putte Co-Chair of Human Trafficking Committee

(Austin)— On Thursday, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst appointed Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (Dist. 26) as co-chair of the Joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking.

The purpose of the committee is to study the problem of human trafficking in Texas and make recommendations to the 83rd Legislature, which convenes in 2013.

"I am confident that your skills and commitment to this issue will be of great benefit to the committee," wrote Lt. Gov. Dewhurst in a letter informing her of the appointment. "I look forward to hearing from you on its progress, and appreciate your commitment to this task."

Sen. Van de Putte has been a state leader in the fight against human trafficking. She authored several anti-trafficking bills in the 82nd Legislative Session that became law, including Senate Bill 24, landmark legislation enhancing the penalty for offenders who force children into prostitution and providing tools to help prosecutors send offenders to prison. Senate Bill 24 also requires sex traffickers to register in the Sex Offender Registry and increases victim protective provisions.

"I am honored to join with my co-chair, Rep. Senfronia Thompson, in this effort," said Sen. Van de Putte. "I also look forward to working with Senators Birdwell, Hegar, Hinojosa, Huffman, Shapiro and Williams and Representatives Burkett, Fletcher, Frullo, Gonzalez, Harless and Hunter."

As a result of SB 24, Shared Hope International awarded Texas a grade of "B" for the strength of its laws criminalizing domestic minor sex trafficking. "Although that was the highest score given to any state, much more work needs to be done to stamp out this vile crime," said Sen. Van de Putte. "We will continue to find ways to improve Texas' laws to both punish traffickers and rescue victims."

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