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State Rep. Parker attends Oval Office signing of human trafficking bill

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Tan Parker at the White House, courtesy of Parker’s office.

This week, State Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) attended the bill signing ceremony with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

Parker was one of two state representatives invited, joining a group of leaders across the country known for their efforts to help eradicate human trafficking and assist victims, according to a news release from Parker’s office.

Trump signed S. 1862, the “Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act,” on Wednesday. The bi-partisan initiative will renew existing programs that make federal resources available to human trafficking survivors and establish new prevention, prosecution and collaboration initiatives to help bring traffickers to justice, according to the news release.

“It was a tremendous honor and privilege to meet our president this week for the signing of such a critical piece of federal legislation,” Parker said. I also had the privilege of discussing the border situation with Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen, Acting Director of ICE, Ron Vitiello, Congressman Michael McCaul, White House advisor Ivanka Trump, and many wonderful members of President Trump’s White House staff. The opportunity to have these personal conversations regarding the importance of securing our border, eradicating human trafficking, as well as touting the work that Texas has done over the years to protect our state and nation was invaluable.”

Recognized for his legislative success and advocacy in the fight against human trafficking, Parker has been credited for authoring several bills to aid in the prevention of human trafficking and assisting victims including laws that address the demand side of human trafficking by raising the penalties facing those who would solicit prostitution, increasing the penalties facing persons with multiple convictions of possession of child pornography, designating January as Human Trafficking Prevention Month in Texas and providing an avenue for victims to possibly seal convictions of prostitution if they were, in fact, a victim of human trafficking, according to the news release.

“While I am proud of the many accomplishments of our great state, the reality is that we are the second worst state in the nation for human trafficking,” Parker said. “We simply cannot accept nor tolerate that this horrific form of abuse is occurring within our own backyards. I will continue fighting and take decisive action to strengthen Texas’ ability to put an end to this unimaginable crime. I also ask every Texan to vow to be better informed to recognize the signs of human trafficking and report any activity to the proper authorities.”

Jan. 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. If you believe a person is in immediate danger of being trafficked, please call 911 to alert the proper authorities. The public should also contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to 233733. Emails can also be sent to report@polarisproject.org. The public can also call the OAG Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime division at 512-463-1646 or email humantrafficking@oag.texas.gov.

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Mark Smith

Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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