Since the birth of our nation, we have aspired to the highest ideals of freedom, justice, and the pursuit of happiness. A critical part of preserving these values is understanding that we live in a world where people are still deprived of these rights, and a world where people are trafficked for labor or bought and sold in the sex trade. Even more importantly, we must recognize the fact that the heinous crime of human trafficking is not confined to remote nations abroad; it happens right here in our state and nation, and even children in our own communities are commodities for sexual predators and the profit of traffickers.
The State of Texas will not tolerate the inhumane practices of coercive and manipulative criminals. We enact serious penalties for human traffickers, and we continuously strive to better serve the victims of these heinous crimes. Since the creation of the Child Sex Trafficking Team in my office, innovative and effective practices have been launched across the state to protect our vulnerable populations, especially children. My team knows that a spirit of collaboration is critical in this endeavor, and I commend all those working toward a stronger and more coordinated response, as their work will help ensure a better and brighter future for all Texans.
I thank our state’s service providers, law enforcement officers, and prosecutors for their dedication to combating these terrible crimes. I also applaud the many different faith communities, businesses, foundations, and other advocates who continue to step up and make a difference in the lives of so many of their fellow Texans. I especially want to express my gratitude to the incredible survivors who raise their voices and share their stories to help others; the strength and resilience exemplified by these brave individuals is a constant inspiration to us all.
At this time, I encourage all Texans to learn about the harmful effects and warning signs of human trafficking and to do their part to help end this atrocity. The reality of this evil enterprise can be staggering; however, Texans are not overcome when faced with adversity. Together, we can protect the vulnerable, help victims find healing, and bring offenders to justice.
Therefore, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, do hereby proclaim January 2021 to be Human Trafficking Prevention Month in Texas, and urge the appropriate recognition whereof.
In official recognition whereof, I hereby affix my signature this the 29th day of December, 2020.