Houston is a major hub for human trafficking – basically the enslavement of a person, often in the form of forced prostitution. Sen. Cornyn says one out of four human trafficking victims comes through Harris County.
The Human Trafficking Reporting Act of 2013 would make human trafficking a Part I violent crime for the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.
“And so what this will do is recognize that human trafficking is indeed a crime of violence. It will ensure that accurate human trafficking statistics are publicly available and then it will encourage law enforcement officials to identify and protect victims of human trafficking.”
He says it would also secure funding needed to combat the crime. Cornyn, who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he became interested in creating awareness for the voiceless when he was the Texas attorney general and collected child support for the state’s children.
“They need some champions, they need people who are willing to help, so this is sort of an extension of my interest in that area and one where I found some good partners on a bipartisan basis.”
During a roundtable, Harris County Juvenile District Court Judge Michael Schneider and others briefed Cornyn on the so-called “GIRL’s Court.” The court was established by Judge Schneider in 2011 and aims to assist young victims of human trafficking and recognize them as victims rather than criminals.
Cornyn says he intends to file the Human Trafficking Reporting Act early next week.