Final Blog: Policy Recommendation
As my final blog post, I wanted to communicate the results of my policy research on modern slavery. Although many states have advanced in legislation and resources combating human trafficking, are victims being identified and acquainted to these resources? In my research the most startling finding is lack of victim identification. Victim identification continues to be a large aspect in eliminating modern slavery in the United States. I believe that training and education for first responders is critical. Without the proper training and education human trafficking victims are at risk of not being identified or worse being treated as criminals.
To exemplify my findings, I researched the 2010 Texas Supreme Court case of B.W. B.W. was a young girl, age 13, who was arrested for prostitution in Harris County. Formal charges were brought against B.W. only to be later overturned on the basis that a person under 14 years of age could not consent to sex or consent to commit an act of prostitution. Although the criminal charges against this young girl were dismissed, the 32 year old man whom B.W. lived with and forced her into prostitution had no criminal charges brought against him. This is only one instance of human trafficking, more cases like B.W. are happening around the country. Worse, many human trafficking victims are prosecuted as criminals. If only law enforcement and first responders were educated on identifying human trafficking, it’s victims, and the emotional cycle of violence would human trafficking be so prevalent in society?
All of my policy research has been devoted to increasing training for law enforcement officers, judicial officials, and other first responders. For the state of Texas, I recommend re-introduction of House Bill 2393, a bill for increased training protocols for personnel most likely to come in contact with victims and survivors. Many initiatives like House Bill 2393 are being introduced in other states. For my blog followers outside of Texas, I suggest writing officials to increase human trafficking training and education requirements for first responders, specifically law enforcement. Like any social injustice of society, awareness of the injustice is the first step in combating human trafficking.