After several months of preparation and collaboration with Allies Against Slavery, Council Member Ellen Troxclair sponsored a resolution this week addressing human trafficking in Austin.
The resolution, introduced as the “Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative”, recognizes the important work currently being done by local organizations and signifies a continued public commitment by the City of Austin to be a national leader in the movement to end human trafficking. Council Member Troxclair delivers remarks at the press conference
Council Member Troxclair stated, “Human trafficking is a malicious and devastating crime. But, what many people don’t realize is that it is happening right here in Austin. With cases of human trafficking on the rise in Travis County, it’s critical that our community is mobilized to combat this horrific practice.”
At a press event on Thursday, C.M. Troxclair was joined by Mayor Adler, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, and the resolution’s co-sponsoring council members as well as members of the Allies Against Slavery team. In a strong show of support, Mayor Adler declared that, “We are a city that values every person. We believe that every person has fundamental rights.” The Mayor went on to say, “You cannot be the father of three girls without having this issue hit home.”
Shortly after the press event ended, Allies Against Slavery received word that the City Council voted unanimously to approve the resolution. Specifically, the passing vote directs the City Manager to:
- Incorporate information about preventing, identifying, and responding to human trafficking into existing training for City employees
- Develop plans and policies to prevent and reduce human trafficking
- Appoint a liaison to coordinate collaborative solutions between the City and Network partners to end human trafficking in Austin.
“There hasn’t been a coordinated effort from the City,” said CM Troxclair. “I think [in the near future] the hope is we can say definitively that we are free from human trafficking in Austin and Travis County.”
John Nehme, President & CEO of Allies said, “This is not a problem that can be solved by one individual or one organization. Traffickers are increasingly sophisticated and well-networked, making use of technology as a means of exploitation. Our response must be equally sophisticated and networked. It takes the whole community linking arms, taking a stand, and sending a message loud and clear that trafficking has no place in our city. This resolution does just that.”