Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan endorses tougher laws against human trafficking
Today Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan in a meeting with Governor Rick Perry, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, Senator Leticia Van de Putte State Representative Senfronia Thompson endorsed proposed legislation that would toughen state laws against human trafficking.
Human trafficking is the illegal trade in human beings for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor, a modern-day form of slavery. According to the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, the government estimates that more than 18,000 victims are trafficked into the U.S. each year and more than 3,600 “slaves” (20 percent) of the identified victims of human trafficking are moved through Texas each year.
Both Senator Van de Putte and Representative Thompson have filed comprehensive bills for the 82nd Legislative Session related to the prosecution and punishment of human traffickers. Included in these bills is an amendment which will give the County Attorney’s Office additional authority to close down businesses that engage in human trafficking.
The Harris County Attorney’s Office, the civil law office for Harris County government, investigates incidents of human trafficking and uses the power of civil lawsuits to close down the businesses and establishments who give safe haven to the traffickers. Vince Ryan created the Special Prosecutions Unit, in 2009, specifically to target human trafficking.
“We continue this fight so that in our lifetime, modern day slavery will cease to exist,” said County Attorney Ryan.