Published by admin on 25 Jun 2011
Gov. Rick Perry today ceremonially signed two bills creating stiffer penalties for individuals who commit human trafficking in Texas, House Bill 3000 and Senate Bill 24. The governor was joined by Rep. Senfronia Thompson, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott for the signing ceremony.
“Human traffickers exploit their victims’ hopes and dreams, promising better days and better lives but delivering them instead into a world that’s nothing more than modern-day slavery,” Gov. Perry said. “Hopefully, when human traffickers understand their own freedom and profits are on the line, perhaps for the rest of their lives, they will think twice about continuing to engage in these criminal activities.”
HB 3000 creates a new first-degree felony in the Penal Code called Continuous Trafficking of Persons, which applies to individuals who commit two or more acts of human trafficking in a period of 30 days or more. Under HB 3000, the punishment range for a first time offender is 25-99 years or life imprisonment, and a fine up to $10,000. If convicted a second time, the offense carries a punishment of life without parole. HB 3000 also adds Continuous Trafficking of Persons to the list of offenses that do not have a limitation period for filing charges, alters parole consideration and requires a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles before release, and further limits bail and bond considerations for a person charged with Continuous Trafficking of Persons.
“Texas family violence programs stand as sometimes the only provider of critical shelter and other services for victims of human trafficking,” Gloria Terry, President of the Texas Council on Family Violence said. “In recognition of this continuing reality, the Texas Council on Family Violence, the statewide coalition of family violence programs, applauds the passage of Senate Bill 24 and House Bill 3000. This legislation will allow for a more comprehensive response to the devastating crime of human trafficking, an approach that will ultimately save lives. We thank the entire legislature and in particular Sen. Van De Putte, Rep. Thompson, Attorney General Abbott and Gov. Perry for their leadership in taking human trafficking seriously in Texas.”