Texas State Representative, Tan Parker, hosted an anti-trafficking summit and roundtable discussion at University of Texas at Dallas. Rep. Parker, along with local North Texas law enforcement, other government agencies, and many anti-trafficking organizations that included Refuge for Women North Texas gathered to strategize in order to execute ways to eradicate human trafficking and child sexual exploitation across Texas.
The morning session was incredibly productive, surfacing new ideas to stop human trafficking through legislative means. The afternoon session was aimed at investigating and executing ways through legislative means to do the unimaginable, eradicate human trafficking in Texas, as well as getting necessary laws changed to better serve survivors. Texas is the tip of the spear when it comes to making real change in this fight. “The state unanimously passed House Bill 1540 (HB1540), which was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott in June, to crack down on so-called “johns” who pay for sex, in an attempt to shift punitive blame away from those who engage in prostitution, many of whom are often victims of trafficking. The law went into effect on September 1, 2021.” (1)
Tan Parker’s personal friend and colleague, Jenna Quinn, joined us for our afternoon session. Jenna Quinn, child sexual abuse survivor, has “pioneered the national child sexual abuse prevention movement since 2004. The Jenna Quinn Law was passed unanimously in 2004, requiring K-12 sexual abuse prevention for students, school staff, and caregivers. It requires each school district to adopt and implement a prevention policy that educates students, teachers, and caregivers on how to prevent, recognize, and report child sexual abuse.” (2)
This event was the first of many events envisioned to make an impact on survivors, as well as make necessary changes that will bring justice to their cause. When asked about the importance of this roundtable, Abby Germer, Executive Director of Refuge for Women, said, “One of the most encouraging things about this roundtable is when you can have law enforcement, anti-trafficking organizations, and elected officials in a room together collaborating in the anti-trafficking fight. It is encouraging and inspiring to see how far we’ve come as a society to understand the truths behind prostitiution and how we can better advocate for victims in the horrific crime.”
Refuge for Women is honored to be included in this discussion and look forward to collaborating with others looking to make real change in fighting for survivors. Together, we fight to end human trafficking one life at a time.