Current human trafficking law provides resources for victims’ services and gives prosecutors the tools to go after human traffickers. But very little is said about those soliciting the services of a trafficked individual.
In economic theory, we discuss the importance of the supply and demand relationship. If the demand wanes, so does the supply. This concept can also be applied to human trafficking, as buyers create demand and thereby drive this criminal business. President George W. Bush stated during a Justice Department training on human trafficking, “We cannot put [human traffickers] out of business until and unless we deal with the problem of demand.”
Last week, I joined three of my colleagues to introduce bipartisan legislation that addresses human trafficking from the demand side, allowing those who solicit, patronize, obtain, or pay for these illegal services to be prosecuted.
Everyone in our community can be a part of combating human trafficking. I encourage you to learn the red flags that may indicate human trafficking, volunteer to do victim outreach, or talk to your friends and family about the issue. Your voice can make a difference.
As a co-chair of the House Human Trafficking Caucus, I have seen the permanent devastation this cycle brings to its victims and their families. No one thinks their daughter could be a victim of sex trafficking, but it is happening daily in our Metroplex.
One-third of our city’s homeless population, who are most susceptible to human trafficking, are young people and the National Human Trafficking Hotline receives more calls from Texas than any other state – including hundreds from the DFW area.
By increasing public awareness, strengthening law enforcement tools, and bringing everyone involved in the selling and buying of human beings to justice, we can move toward eradicating the misery and suffering caused by human trafficking.
Congresswoman Kay Granger represents Texas’ 12th Congressional District, which includes Parker County.