Tuesday, May 14, 2013

TX Laws Fight Sex Slavery & Human Trafficking

The Texas 83rd legislature passed two laws concerning human trafficking and sex slavery. A third has passed the state House and will likely pass the Senate. Other bills are still being considered, but are likely to also pass.

SB 92 (Juvenile Court For Possible Victims of Human Trafficking) Passed, Enrolled, Sent to Governor

SB 92 is a new law pending execution and enactment by Governor Perry. The bill addresses judicial and court jurisdictions and considerations for children who may have been victims of human trafficking. (Full text of the law as passed.)

It allows the court to defer judgement in order to allow for other programs to assist possible human trafficking victims, specifically those under the age of 18.

      (a)  This section applies to a juvenile court or to an alternative juvenile court exercising simultaneous jurisdiction over proceedings under this title and Subtitle E, Title 5, in the manner authorized by Section 51.0413. 
       (b)  A juvenile court may defer adjudication proceedings under Section 54.03 until the child's 18th birthday and require a child to participate in a program established under Section 152.0016, Human Resources Code, if the child: 
             (1)  is alleged to have engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision and may be a victim of conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 20A.02, Penal Code; and 
             (2)  presents to the court an oral or written request to participate in the program. 
       (c)  Following a child's completion of the program, the court shall dismiss the case with prejudice at the time the child presents satisfactory evidence that the child successfully completed the program.
The new law addresses any victim of Texas Section 20A.02 Penal Code. That is the current law regarding Human Trafficking. In many cases, human trafficking is done for slavery purposes. Many times the slavery is work in "sweat shops" or other indentured labor. The "indentured labor" many times means working in the so-called "sex industry" and "adult entertainment industry".
(3)  traffics another person and, through force, fraud, or coercion, causes the trafficked person to engage in conduct prohibited by:
(A)  Section 43.02 (Prostitution);
(B)  Section 43.03 (Promotion of Prostitution);
(C)  Section 43.04 (Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution); or
(D)  Section 43.05 (Compelling Prostitution);

In the cases of children, Section 20A.02 adds:

(7)  traffics a child and by any means causes the trafficked child to engage in, or become the victim of, conduct prohibited by:
(A)  Section 21.02 (Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child or Children);
(B)  Section 21.11 (Indecency with a Child);
(C)  Section 22.011 (Sexual Assault);
(D)  Section 22.021 (Aggravated Sexual Assault);
(E)  Section 43.02 (Prostitution);
(F)  Section 43.03 (Promotion of Prostitution);
(G)  Section 43.04 (Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution);
(H)  Section 43.05 (Compelling Prostitution);
(I)  Section 43.25 (Sexual Performance by a Child);
(J)  Section 43.251 (Employment Harmful to Children); or
(K)  Section 43.26 (Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography);

SB 94 (Civil Liability For Sex Slavery) Passed, Enrolled, Passed to Governor

 SB 94 concerns "compelled prostitution". (Full text of the law as passed.) Compelled prostitution is synonymous with sex slavery. The new law makes human traffickers involved in sex slavery as well as other "pimps" liable for damages under civil suits, in addition to any criminal proceedings.

       Sec. 98A.002.  LIABILITY. (a)  A defendant is liable to a victim of compelled prostitution, as provided by this chapter, for damages arising from the compelled prostitution if the defendant: 
             (1)  engages in compelling prostitution with respect to the victim; 
             (2)  knowingly or intentionally engages in promotion of prostitution or aggravated promotion of prostitution that results in compelling prostitution with respect to the victim; or
             (3)  purchases an advertisement that the defendant knows or reasonably should know constitutes promotion of prostitution or aggravated promotion of prostitution, and the publication of the advertisement results in compelling prostitution with respect to the victim.

       Sec. 98A.003.  DAMAGES. (a)  A claimant who prevails in a suit under this chapter shall be awarded: 
             (1)  actual damages, including damages for mental anguish even if an injury other than mental anguish is not shown; 
             (2)  court costs; and
             (3)  reasonable attorney's fees. 
       (b)  In addition to an award under Subsection (a), a claimant who prevails in a suit under this chapter may recover exemplary damages.

HB 793 (Punishments For Human Trafficking) Passed House, Engrossed.

HB 793 better defines what acts are considered associated with human trafficking. It includes aggravated offenses for those who smuggle people and trespass on private lands while armed.

If passed, this bill will enhance the defense and protection of private property, especially those lands used for agricultural businesses such as ranches, orchards, and farms. The full engrossed version of the bill as passed to the Senate is available here.

(a)  A person commits an offense if the person intentionally:
             (1)  uses a motor vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft to transport an individual with the intent to: 
                   (A) [(1)]  conceal the individual from a peace officer or special investigator; or
                   (B) [(2)]  flee from a person the actor knows is a peace officer or special investigator attempting to lawfully arrest or detain the actor; or 
             (2)  assists, guides, or directs three or more individuals to enter or remain on agricultural land without the effective consent of the owner.

Collateral Effects of Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery

Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery activities usually coincide with illicit drug trafficking. Drug cartels will often work in conjunction with sex slavers and human traffickers. Drug cartels will often employ human traffickers to assist in providing "mules" from among the "coyotes" prey.

They perform these actions with no regard or respect for private property. In some cases, cartels and human traffickers have terrorized property owners along the borders of Texas and Arizona into fleeing their land in order to allow the cartels and traffickers to squat on the land with relative impunity. Those who resist the cartels and traffickers fear meeting the same fate as Arizona rancher Robert Krentz, who was assassinated by a drug cartel.

Human traffickers often indenture the border-jumpers they assist. Carrying illicit drugs across the border is one task traffickers force upon their prey as part of the payment for being smuggled across the border. Many times they also indenture the prey into prostitution and pornography. The most likely victims of this form of slavery are young women between 10 and 20 years of age. However, the activity is not only limited to females.

In addition, human traffickers will assist individuals associated with international terrorism to infiltrate the United States. The drug cartels have networked with these extremist groups. Some of these groups can facilitate the trade of opiates and other illicit substances. In return, the cartels assist them in infiltrating the US. Many times, the infiltrations are done in conjunction with human trafficking of sex slaves.

Some of these terrorists go so far as to purchase teenaged girls to be their sex slaves.

Their acts do not end in the border states. That is where they begin. Once inside the US borders, they disperse to states away from the border in order to continue their illicit activities in more permissive areas. They know that citizens of South Dakota are far less likely to look for illegal immigrants, sex slaves, and like than citizens of Sierra Vista, AZ or El Paso, TX are.

The human trafficking of sex slaves is not a one-way street. US Citizens are also abducted or otherwise coerced. They are then transported out of the US. One out of the US, it is far less likely that US law enforcement will pursue attempts to locate and rescue the victims. From Mexico, they are transported around the world.

Major General (ret) Scales addresses these issues in his Foreward to Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples's book Broken Borders, Broken Promises.