by Office of Governor Greg Abbott
The concepts of freedom, justice and the pursuit of happiness are intricately woven into the fabric of American culture. We may find it hard to fathom that we live in a world where people are deprived of these rights, a world where people are trafficked for labor or bought and sold in the sex trade. The heinous crime of human trafficking is not confined to some remote country; it is happening right here, and even children have become commodities for the pleasure of sexual predators and the profit of traffickers.
The State of Texas will not tolerate the inhumane practices carried out by coercive and manipulative criminals. We provide serious penalties for human traffickers, and we continuously look for ways to better serve the victims. Since the creation of the Child Sex Trafficking Team in my office, innovative and promising practices have been launched around the state. My team knows that a spirit of collaboration is critical in this endeavor, and I commend all those working toward a stronger and more coordinated response.
I thank our state’s service providers, law enforcement officers and prosecutors for their dedication to combating this terrible crime. I also applaud the faith communities, businesses, foundations and other advocates who are stepping up to make a difference. I especially want to express my gratitude for the incredible survivors who are sharing their voices and their stories to help others; their grit and resilience is a testament to the Texas spirit and a constant inspiration to us all.
At this time, I encourage all Texans to learn more about the risks and indicators of human trafficking and to do their part in helping end this atrocity. The reality of this evil enterprise can become overwhelming; however, if the past year has taught us anything, it is the fact that Texans will not be overcome in the face of adversity. Together, we can protect the vulnerable, help victims find healing and bring offenders to justice.
Therefore, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, do hereby proclaim January 2018, to be