Shared Hope International, a non-partisan organization based in Vancouver (WA) that researches child sex trafficking has recently ranked Texas as one of the most effective states in fighting it.
The organization Shared Hope gave Texas an A grade in the fifth edition of its annual report on state laws to fight sex trafficking of children, which is titled “Protected Innocence Challenge.”
One of the laws the Texas Legislature passed in its 84th session, and for which the state has received the recognition allows victims of sex trafficking, including minors, to be compensated from the personal assets of the business owners who helped exploit them.
"Texas has some high penalties for traffickers and buyers and facilitators. The biggest area of improvement left for Texas is within victim protection, and so we did see a bit of improvement within victim protection," explained Rachel Harper, one of the authors of Shared Hope's report.
Harper added that another measure approved by Texas allows children who are victims of sex trafficking to also seek compensation even if they voluntarily participated.
Robert Sanborn, President and CEO of Children at Risk, a Houston-based group that has extensively researched human trafficking, thinks Texas deserves the high grade given by Shared Hope.
Sanborn points to bipartisanship in the Legislature as one of the crucial factors.
"Both sides of the aisle have worked together to end trafficking and I think we've also seen a lot of leadership from our past Attorney General, the current Governor Greg Abbott," noted Sanborn.