OLSON HOSTS JOINT EFFORT TO COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Washington, DC â€“ Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) today hosted a human trafficking summit to increase awareness and identify needs in our community to protect our children from falling victim to this growing problem. Summit participants were from federal, state and local law enforcement and humanitarian organizations closely involved in ending human trafficking. The event took place at the University of Houston, (UH) Sugar Land campus.
"This summit allows our community to have a needed discussion on human trafficking," Rep. Pete Olson said. "Our expert panelists here today help us to fully understand the scope of the problem. In Congress, we can strengthen laws to catch predators and make sure victims are put on path to recovery instead shame. In the House, we are working to do our part in the battle to stop human trafficking. We recently passed bills to: boost support and protect human trafficking victims, provide incentives for states to adopt safe harbor laws, punish those who knowingly exploit sex trafficking and expandMeganâ€™s Law internationally. Together, we must do all we can to protect our children from those who would enslave them for profit."
â€œHomeland Security Investigations, Houston, welcomes and is encouraged by Congressman Olsonâ€™s leadership and motivation in addressing the topic of Human Trafficking in a manner that will significantly increase awareness in the community and assist in preventing young people from becoming victims of this hideous crime," said Homeland Security Investigations Agent Armando Astorga.
Dr. Robert Sanborn, Children At Risk said, "Human trafficking is a scourge that thrives in the darkness. Strong laws in Austin and Washington are vital, but we all have a role to play in stopping this crime. If we stop turning a blind eye to individuals and businesses that fuel the supply and demand of this illicit economy; if we recognize the red flags that are often right under our noses; if we speak up for the voiceless among us; then together, we can shine a light on this crime and end the cycle of exploitation in our communities."
"International Justice Mission is grateful to join the conversation Houston is having about the violent reality of human trafficking. Congressman Olson is powerfully capturing the range of need and responses to this insidious and profitable crime across Houston, our border, and our world. This panel couldnâ€™t be more timely: on Wednesday, the US House of Representatives will vote on the Human Trafficking Prioritization Act (HR 2283), which if it passes will elevate the authority of the U.S. Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Office in our State Department. The TIP Office is our countryâ€™s nerve center for combating these crimes globally, and IJM looks forward to it passing the House with robust support before moving on to the Senate," Lauren Niemeyer, International Justice Mission stated.
Participants in the summit included: Dean Ira Colby, UH Social Work; Dr. Robert Sanborn, Children At Risk; Lauren Niemeyer, International Justice Mission; Connie Almeida, Fort Bend County Director of Behavioral Health Services; Belinda Hinojosa, Department of Public Safety; John Reid, Attorney Generalâ€™s Human Trafficking Unit; Armando Astorga Jr., Homeland Security Investigations; Cheryl Briggs, Mission at Serenity Ranch and Senator Larry Taylor, Texas District 11.
Media Contact: Melissa Kelly