TexasBar.com

State Bar of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2013

Contact:  Kim Davey, kdavey@texasbar.com, 800.204.2222 x 1713, 512.427.1713

Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) Releases “Slavery Out of the Shadows:  Spotlight on Human Trafficking”

AUSTIN – The Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) has released its latest public service project, “Slavery Out of the Shadows:  Spotlight on Human Trafficking,” to educate the public about the horrific crime of human trafficking, effects on our local communities, and what people can do about it.

“Slavery Out of the Shadows” also features moving interviews with survivors and human trafficking experts, including lawyers who are prosecuting such cases.

Human trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transporting, or procurement of a person for labor or services for the purpose of involuntary servitude, slavery, or forced commercial sex acts. Considered to be a contemporary form of slavery, human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises. Traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits annually by victimizing millions of people around the world. Human trafficking is not just an international problem – it is happening all across the U.S. and right here in Texas.

According to the U.S. State Department, 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, and at least 100,000 children are sexually exploited every year in the United States. In Texas, 80 percent of human trafficking cases involve sexual exploitation of children.

In 2003, Texas became one of the first states to pass human trafficking legislation criminalizing such conduct. Created by the Texas Legislature, the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force reported in 2011 that runaway minors and homeless youth face the greatest risk of falling victim to human traffickers. The National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Throwaway Children estimates that one out of every three children is approached by a trafficker within 48 hours of running away from home.

“These children are often escaping abusive or disrupted homes and are then subjected to psychological and physical abuse by traffickers,” said C.E. Rhodes of Baker Hughes, Inc. in Houston and TYLA President. “Your active participation could stop a trafficker and more importantly, save a potential victim.”

TYLA has collaborated with Children at Risk, Catholic Charities, Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition, the Klein Frank Foundation, victim advocacy organizations, educators and others to raise awareness about human trafficking and ensure that victims get the services they need. The issue will receive much attention at the American Bar Association mid-year meeting this week in Dallas.

The program is funded by a grant from the Texas Bar Foundation. Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $13 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably funded bar foundation.

“Slavery Out of the Shadows” is available at tyla.org. Contact TYLA at 800.204.2222 ext. 1529 to request a copy on DVD. Many other outstanding TYLA public service projects that serve vulnerable populations – youth, seniors, domestic violence victims – are also available at www.tyla.org.

All licensed Texas lawyers who are 36 years old or younger or who are in their first five years of licensure, regardless of age, are automatically members of TYLA. Commonly referred to as the "public service arm" of the State Bar of Texas, TYLA's main purposes are to facilitate the administration of justice, foster respect for the law, and advance the role of the legal profession in serving the public.

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Media Note:  April 1, 2013 is the entry deadline for the annual Texas Gavel Awards to honor journalistic excellence that fosters public understanding of the legal system. Visit www.texasbar.com/media.

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