The swirling force of Texas politics

Bill Cracks Down On Human Smugglers

By Annie Potasznik
|  Tuesday, May 10, 2011  |  Updated 2:41 PM CDT
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Bill Cracks Down On Human Smugglers

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The Texas/Mexico border is a hot bed of human trafficking.

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Texas is home to not only major human trafficking corridors, but many individual trafficking victims are brought to the state and forced to work against their will, according to Humanitarian News.

The Texas Senate is proactively trying to change this with their recent approval of a bill that would make it easier for prosecutors to convict human smugglers.

“Collaboration is absolutely essential to unravel human traffickers’ tangled web of crime,” said Attorney General Greg Abbott at Tuesday’s Human Trafficking’s 2011 Conference.

“Human traffickers specialize in using force, fraud and coercion to compel their victims into modern-day slavery. By continuing to build up the demonstrated collaboration we’ve already achieved in Texas, law enforcement officials can help ensure our State is both hostile territory for human traffickers and a safe haven for their victims,” he continued according to Focus Daily News.

Tuesday’s vote makes it a state jail felony to intentionally transport a person with the intent of hiding the individual from law enforcement officers or fleeing arrest.

The bill’s author, Sen. Jose Rodriguez of El Paso (D), said it's difficult to convict human traffickers.

Under current law prosecutors have to prove that a person trafficked someone with the knowledge that the person will be forced into labor or services.

Rodriguez said his bill would solve that problem if passed and give prosecutors additional tools to address trafficking.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

More: state.gov, ice.gov

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