State Bar of Texas
February 15, 2013

Contact:  Paul F. Tu, paul@atblawfirm.com, 713.774.2800

Texas Young Lawyers Association Partners with Fort Bend County Criminal Defense Attorney Association on “Slavery Out of the Shadows: Spotlight on Human Trafficking”

HOUSTON – The Fort Bend County Criminal Defense Attorney Association (FBCCDAA) will partner with the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) to present a panel discussion on TYLA’s latest public service project, “Slavery Out of the Shadows: Spotlight on Human Trafficking,” to educate area lawyers and the public about the horrific crime of human trafficking and what people can do about it.

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

The event will be held:
12 p.m.
Feb. 21, 2013
Ft. Bend County Court at Law #4,
1422 Eugene Circle, Richmond, TX 77469

Panelists will include Dawn Lew with Children at Risk, narrator of the “Slavery Out of the Shadows” video, and Lee Cox, president of FBCCDAA. Paul F. Tu of Arrington, Tu and Burnett L.L.P. will serve as moderator.

Participating attorneys will earn 1.0 hour continuing legal education credit.

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.

Human trafficking is defined under Texas law as transporting, enticing, recruiting, harboring, providing, or otherwise obtaining another person by any means with the intent that the person engage in forced labor or services – including sex trafficking – and forced prostitution or pornography.

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.

It is estimated that one out of every three children that run away is lured into sex trafficking within 48 hours of leaving from home. The average age of entry into sex trafficking is 12-13 years old.

“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, a department of the State Bar of Texas, 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 program is funded by a grant from the Texas Bar Foundation. Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $14 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 www.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.

State Bar of Texas
1414 Colorado St.
Austin, Texas 78701