Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Leticia Van de Putte

For Immediate Release
May 21, 2013
Contact: Lee Nichols, 512-463-0126

Van de Putte Passes Series of Human Trafficking Bills

(Austin) — In the 83rd Legislative Session, Senator Leticia Van de Putte (District 26, Bexar County) once again made human trafficking a major focus of her lawmaking efforts. Senator Van de Putte is proud to announce that several bills that she either authored or sponsored have passed both chambers of the Texas Legislature. These bills have been or are expected to be sent to Governor Rick Perry for his signature.

"Human trafficking — modern-day slavery — is a vile crime that must be fought, and its survivors must be helped," Senator Van de Putte said. "These bills, once they become law, will further aid law enforcement officials in catching those who perpetrate these crimes and deliver needed services to those enslaved in forced labor and prostitution. Thanks to my legislative colleagues, especially Houston Rep. Senfronia Thompson, my invaluable ally in this effort."

The bills include:

House Bill 8 – Authored by Thompson, sponsored in Senate by Van de Putte. Toughens penalties for prostitution of a minor and compelling prostitution. It also resolves conflicting human trafficking protective order statutes and conflicting penalties for employment harmful to children.

House Bill 1272 – Authored by Thompson, identical to Van de Putte's SB 811. Continues the existence of the Human Trafficking Task Force, created by the 81st Legislature (2009) for another two years, and expands its duties.

Senate Bill 92 – Authored by Van de Putte. Creates special courts designed to divert juveniles who have been forced into prostitution away from the criminal justice system and toward rehabilitative and health services. Treats those who have been trafficked as crime victims rather than criminals.

Senate Bill 94 – Authored by Van de Putte. Creates a legal mechanism for a victim of sex trafficking to seek a civil remedy from the person who compelled the person into prostitution or from a purchaser of an advertisement that the purchaser knows or reasonably should have known was a promotion of compelled prostitution.

House Bill 2725 – Authored by Thompson, identical to Van de Putte's SB 1354. Creates confidentiality safeguards for shelters that help victims of human trafficking and minimum standards for such facilities.