HB 2858: addresses horrors of human trafficking

Jennifer Carr Allmon

As executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, I’m testifying in support of HB 2858.

Many of our Catholic Charities agencies provide assistance to victims of human trafficking. While I worked at Catholic Charities in Houston, I served on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Anti-Trafficking Task Force. In that role, I received intensive training by FBI Task Force Members on the coercion methods used by traffickers. The level of coercion and real threat of harm used by traffickers is grotesque and unfathomable. This must be taken into account in crafting legislation to address this issue.

This bill balances the need to fully protect families from these types of threats while still seeking to rescue trafficked victims, prevent coerced abortions, and aggressively punish traffickers or physicians who facilitate coerced abortions in the course of human trafficking.

HB 2858 provides greater opportunities to identify and rescue victims of sex trafficking while providing increased penalties for the horrendous crime of sex trafficking and forced abortion.  We applaud Representative Burns for his leadership in seeking rescue and restoration for victims while enacting justice against those predators who so callously abuse and exploit vulnerable women.