Dallas CASA played host to Gov. Greg Abbott and the North Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking (NTCAHT) on Feb. 8. The coalition presented the Champion of Freedom Award to Gov. Abbott for his efforts to combat human trafficking at the state level.
The unfortunate reality is that children and youth in foster care are at an increased risk of becoming victims of trafficking and exploitation. The NTCAHT brings many partner agencies from across North Texas together to take a united stand against human trafficking. Included in the group are nonprofits like Dallas CASA, as well as local and federal law enforcement, faith leaders and social service providers. The group is committed to working together to identify, rescue and serve trafficked persons and successfully prosecute their traffickers.
At the event, Gov. Abbott announced new plans to fight trafficking by creating a “do not hire” registry for teachers and school employees who have improper relationships with students. He also unveiled a plan to test a large backlog of untested rape kits and increase punishment for convicted human traffickers. He also proposed that sexual misconduct allegations against state legislators be investigated by the Texas Rangers.
“The reason why I’m going to work every day as a governor is to ensure we do all we can to keep our community safe,” Gov. Abbott said. This award “will be a reminder of the vigilance that is needed to ensure that we keep our community safe.”
According to the coalition, North Texans are being exploited on construction sites and farms, in homes, restaurants, hotels, shops, massage parlors, factories and other places every day. The individuals and agencies in the coalition have collectively rescued and provided health, counseling, legal and case management services to hundreds of trafficked people in the past few years.
Also on hand for the event were Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson and Texas Senators Konni Burton and Bob Hall; in addition to Texas Representatives Rodney Anderson, Angie Chen Button, Linda Koop, Jeff Leach, Morgan Meyer, Victoria Naeve, Scott Sanford and Jason Villalba.
The coalition also presented a scholarship to Tiffani Price, a student at the University of North Texas and a human trafficking survivor. Funds for the scholarship came from a partnership between the coalition and the Dallas Fraternal Order of the Eagles 3108.