House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence
House Bill 188 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
The Texas Medical Association and Texas Pediatric Society, representing more than 48,000 physicians and medical students, wish to express our support for Rep. Senfronia Thompson’s legislation to continue the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force.
More than a decade ago, Texas took a bold step by passing some of the first anti-trafficking legislation in the country and also supporting the development of local and regional human trafficking prevention task forces across the state. The designation of the state Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force (task force) solidified Texas’ commitment to better understanding the many factors contributing to this widespread problem. We believe HB 188 will take our state further by enabling Texas to get to the roots of this issue so we can identify meaningful actions that will truly deter and prevent human trafficking and enable communities to better care for trafficking victims in Texas.
The task force represents many important organizations and agencies with significant knowledge and expertise in areas involved in and affected by human trafficking. The task force’s activities have increased public and professional awareness of human trafficking — a problem that is not yet widely understood in our state.
As physicians, our interest is to help identify and treat potential human trafficking victims and ensure victims obtain the extended care and support they need. We encourage you to amend the makeup of the current task force to include representatives of TMA and relevant subspecialty groups to assist in this regard. We have physician members with expertise in caring for victims of human trafficking, and we believe these health professionals can best help guide the development of screening tools and expanding access to educational programming for providers on health issues associated with trafficking. The state can provide greater access to educational programming for health care providers, which could lead to improved reporting and collection of human trafficking data.
We thank Representative Thompson for her leadership in keeping a light on human trafficking and for encouraging all Texans to join in addressing this complex issue. We encourage your support of HB 188 and look forward to ensuring our physician members can play a role in future activities of the task force.
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