Texas senator announces new law to fight sex trafficking

Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act introduced by Sen. John Cornyn

Author: Stephanie Serna, Reporter, sserna@ksat.com
Published On: Sep 13 2013 05:38:29 PM CDT

On Friday, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, was in San Antonio to announce legislation that would boost support and protection for victims of human trafficking.

It's called the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.

Cornyn said the legislation would specifically enhance victim's services, increase law enforcement resources and increase the penalties of sex trafficking, child pornography and human trafficking.

"This provides more assets, better tools for prosecutors and, hopefully, better resources for the victims," said Cornyn. "So they can be survivors and not just victims."

According to local law enforcement agencies, in Bexar County alone, the cases of human trafficking have increased nearly three times from 2011 to 2012.

"We don't want to give the easy way out for the offender through making it too hard for the prosecutor to be able to prove these crimes and bring the perpetrator to justice," he said.

One sex trafficking victim, who spoke out during a roundtable discussion hosted by Child Advocates San Antonio, said she was sold and traded to men for drugs and money since she was 6 years old.

She was pregnant at the age of 11 and then married off at the age of 12, but the abuse didn't stop there.

"Everybody labels us as prostitutes," she said. "But when you are being beat on and injected with heroin, not being your choice. It's not prostitution. It's human trafficking."

This victim, now 37, said she is still working to turn her life around and is encouraged by the new legislation.

Cornyn said the legislation will also create a fund that will be financed through fines on people convicted of human trafficking or child prostitution.

It's expected to increase support for resources to by $10 million to $20 million.