Texas is creating a new donation fund to support young survivors of human trafficking

Press release

Texas Human Services and Health Commission

HHS Executive Commissioner

Date:September 7, 2021

Texas is creating a new donation fund to support young survivors of human trafficking

AUSTIN – Texas Health and Human Services Commission Launches New Donation Account to Raise Funds for Young People Trafficking Survivors. The funds will be used to provide specific housing and treatment services.

Bill 2633, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2021, authorizes the creation of the account to provide grants to facilities committed to the recovery and protection of vulnerable children and adolescents affected by human trafficking.

“The State of Texas is committed to eradicating the scourge of human trafficking in our communities and we will stop at nothing to ensure the justice and healing of the survivors of this horrific crime,” Governor Abbott said. “I was proud to sign HB 2633 into law during the 87th legislative session, which reinforces our efforts against human trafficking by ensuring that young survivors have access to the resources and services they need to heal and recover. The donation fund created through this law serves as a great opportunity for Texans to come together to support survivors of human trafficking. “

The creation of the new fund is a joint effort of HHSC, the Department of Information Resources, the Texas Office of the Controller and the Department of Protection and Family Services.

“Children and young adults who have been treated and exploited have experienced terrible trauma, and with the funds we raise in this account, we will provide specific trauma-based services to help these young Texans heal in their recovery.” , said Michael Roberts, HHSC associate commissioner of specialties and family services.

Trafficking in human beings is the exploitation of persons for sexual or labor purposes against their will. According to a 2016 study from the University of Texas at Austin, an estimated 79,000 young people are victims of sex trafficking in Texas.

“Throughout my career representing victims of human trafficking and prosecuting human traffickers in our criminal justice system, I have witnessed the desperate need for independent facilities in order to provide the necessary recovery. to victims of human trafficking, ”said state Rep. Ann Johnson, who was the author of the legislation. “Together with our agency and community partners, we are proud to announce a new opportunity for all Texans to join the fight against human trafficking. The funds generated by these donations are dedicated to providing services to shelter and recovery for some of our most vulnerable and abused neighbors. “

HHSC is establishing and administering the human trafficking grant program and will use the new dedicated funding to address the lack of emergency reception and treatment services for children, youth and young adults survivors of human trafficking in Texas. .

Grant program services include:

  • Immediate trauma support for young people recovering from human trafficking.
  • Complementary services, such as mental and behavioral health services informed by trauma, medical care and referrals, treatment of substance use and legal advocacy, to support the continuity of care for survivors of human trafficking.
  • Safe shelter that considers the clear and present danger of organized crime for children and young people housed in the facilities.

HHSC works closely with the Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Prevention Unit and DFPS to identify and place young survivors in treatment facilities funded by the grant program.

The general public can access the donation account website to support young survivors of human trafficking. To make a donation, visit: www.texas.gov/StopTrafficking/.

In addition, the donation account is available online for anyone who obtains or renews a driver’s license, personal identification card, or vehicle registration, or who purchases a special license plate to stop human trafficking.

For more information on human trafficking, visit the HHSC Resource Center website.

Credit – https://www.hhs.texas.gov/about-hhs/communications-events/news/2021/09/texas-creates-new-donation-fund-support-youth-survivors-human-trafficking