Work by the Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition, a coalition of local non-profits, faith-based organizations, including the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, business and government agencies, yielded successes in the 86th legislature.

Governor Abbot signed into law new measures that will increase the penalties for buyers of commercial sex and create a process for human trafficking survivors to conceal convictions related to their trafficking.

Survivors will also have greater access to services. Another policy goal of the coalition was the passage of legislation mandating human trafficking education for school board members and superintendents, a method of improving the odds that such training will be extended to teachers and students.

Unfortunately, a law that would have allowed commercial tenants to bring pressure on their landlords to evict businesses where apparent prostitution or human trafficking is taking place did not get very far.

We look forward to continuing our advocacy work with the Houston Rescue & Restore Coalition over the next two years to fight human trafficking in Texas. Monica Hatcher will be serving in a co-chair role for the coalition’s Research and Advocacy Committee starting this month.

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