By Caroline Roberts

On Tuesday, January 22, 2019, over 200 advocates, legislators and concerned citizens from around the state gathered on the south steps of the Texas Capitol to support human trafficking legislation.

Members of the crowd excitedly braved the cold, holding hand-made signs calling for an end to sexual exploitation and human trafficking, better services for survivors, and for more compassionate treatment of victims.

Dr. Bob Sanborn, CEO of Children at Risk, welcomed attendees and thanked them for traveling from all over the state to Austin. He went on to emphasize that Texans would no longer accept excuses like “boys will be boys” and led the crowd in the rallying cry of “Stop Trafficking Now.” Pastor Ross Chandler of First Baptist Marble Falls then opened in prayer.

Representative Senfronia Thompson and Senator Joan Huffman, longtime advocates in the fight against human trafficking, outlined their priorities for this legislative session, including higher penalties for those who purchase sex and age restrictions on those work in sexually oriented businesses, respectively.

Representative Ana Hernandez, Representative Tan Parker, Representative Matt Shaheen, Representative James White, and Representative Rick Miller also voiced their commitment to ending human trafficking and protecting survivors and vulnerable populations. After the rally, groups of advocates met with Texas legislators to discuss proposed policy changes.

Children at Risk would like to thank United against Human Trafficking, the Houston 20, the Austin 20, Love People not Pixels, Freedom Church Alliance, Allies against Slavery, Traffic 911, Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition, the Landing, S.T.E.A.M., Refugee Services of Texas, A 2nd Cup, the Refuge, New Friends New Life, Redeemed Ministries, and Christian Life Commission for cosponsoring the rally and the Houston 20 and S.T.E.A.M. for arranging transportation.

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