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6/26/2012 - Joint Committee on Human Trafficking

posted Jun 27, 2012, 10:46 AM by Nilda Castellanos   [ updated Jun 27, 2012, 1:35 PM by Mary Lerma ]

Joint Interim Committee Hearings SATX 6/26/12
On June 26, 2012, the Joint Interim Committee on Human Trafficking which includes State Representatives and Senators, held a public hearing in San Antonio, TX.  The hearing was held at the office of the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG). Freedom Youth Project was represented by its CEO, Saul Castellanos, as well as by a board member,  2 volunteers and an intern.  

Texas Senator Leticia Van De Putte facilitated the meeting.  Public testimony was heard from different federal, state, and local agencies committed to ending the trafficking of youth.  Testimony included information on study results of the services available for victims of human trafficking provided by federal, state, and local agencies and non-governmental organizations.  Also presented was the need for safe houses and shelters for victims of trafficking, as well as best practice protocol for public/private partnerships providing services to victims.

There was a statewide review of  procedures and services available for youth that have been identified as sex trafficking victims, including an analysis of the criminal penalties associated with prostitution.  Victims continue to be arrested for prostitution versus being rescued to receive services.

It was noted that there is a severe discrepancy of services available to domestic minor victims of sex trafficking, as compared to the services available for international victims.  Until our homeless and runaway youth are protected and receive the same services, American children will continue to be at risk.