Landgraf: Combating Human Trafficking - Odessa American: Guest Columns

Landgraf: Combating Human Trafficking

By State Rep. Brooks Landgraf | Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2019 4:00 am

Human Trafficking is modern-day slavery. This is a heinous issue that transcends language, political boundaries, and race, so it would be a mistake to think this is not an issue that takes place in Texas. Every day, innocent individuals are trafficked across our great state, exploited for sex, labor, or other disgusting means.

During this year’s session of the Texas Legislature, I took a leadership role in combatting human trafficking and better securing our border.

I filed, and Gov. Abbott signed, House Bill 888, which makes it a crime to misrepresent a minor as a family member to law enforcement at a port of entry. Child victims of human trafficking are often tricked by their captors to coerce them to cooperate and not run to law enforcement. Therefore, when the opportunity arises for a child to speak up to authorities at a port of entry, they remain silent as their captor tells the customs officer the child is their son or daughter. This new law will also allow state and local law enforcement to assist in border-security operations.

I also authored HB 1865 and joint authored HB 2747, which will further regulate the massage therapy industry to cut down on illicit massage parlors. Besides the escort industry, massage therapy is the most prolific industry in this country for human trafficking and these illicit massage parlors can serve as a perfectly deceptive front for prostitution.

I believe that these bills will go a long way in cutting down on human trafficking in the state. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to help end human trafficking and I applaud my fellow legislators for joining me in this fight. This modern-day slavery must end now.

God bless Texas!