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The creation of the Child Sex Trafficking Prevention Unit would have a net impact estimate of two-years at $1,478,576.
HB 10 would remove the statute of limitations from the crime of compelling prostitution. This bill will make it easier for victims of trafficking to seek compensation from the Crime Auxiliary Fund for injurious conduct. Under this bill the Texas Education Agency would be required to develop a policy that includes reporting trafficking of a child. The Supreme Court would be required to provide judicial training for crimes related to trafficking. A representative from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and a representative from the Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families are added to the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force (“task force”).
This bill also updates outdated language, removes references to defunct agencies, and refines language to indicate that the task force operate with the “US Attorney’s Offices for all of the federal districts of Texas”. This bill also gives the task force the authority to develop recommendations on investigation procedures. The bill also requires the following agencies to designate an individual whom is authorized to coordinate and strengthen state and local efforts to prevent trafficking;
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
The Department of Family and Protective Services
The Department of Public Safety
The Department of State Health Services
The Health and Human Services Commission
The Texas Juvenile Justice Department
The Office of the Attorney General; and
The Office of the Governor
This bill would also create a Child Sex Trafficking Prevention Unit. The unit would be tasked to collect and analyze research and information related to child sex trafficking. The unit would distribute this information to agencies and relevant nonprofit organizations. The unit would refer victims of child sex trafficking to available rehabilitation programs and provide support for child sex trafficking prosecutions.
This bill also adds a similar provision as 43.06 of the Penal Code on “accomplice witnesses” to 20A of the Penal Code for trafficking of persons violation.
This bill would strengthen increase the violation to the level of a felony of the second degree for solicitation of a minor, regardless of what age the defendant believed the victim to be.
The intent of HB 10 is to curb coerced prostitution and sex trafficking within the state of Texas. To achieve that goal this bill would expand the power and authority of the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force that is under the jurisdiction of the office of the attorney general. According to data from the Texas Crime Information Center, the number of state charges for trafficking has increased annually over the past five years so this clearly continues to be an ongoing issue in Texas.
As it relates to our liberty principles, this bill does increase the size and scope of government. However it does so in a legitimate attempt to secure the individual liberty of victims of human trafficking. HB 10 would also expand the victims rights by removing the statute of limitations from the crime of compelling prostitution.
For this reason, we are neutral on HB 10 because it expands government, but it also preserves personal liberty.