In Texas' context, human trafficking is mostly an unintended consequence of pointlessly restrictive immigration policies that forbid workers from entering the United States legally to work. When wannabe immigrants can't obtain official approval or else pay the ever increasing fees charged by coyotes (immigrant smugglers), not infrequently they'll agree to what's basically a form of indentured servitude or debt peonage to pay off the fee that, once they get to the United States, can morph into what the AG's report referred to as "modern day slavery." According to the report:
Texas is considered a major hub for human trafficking into the U.S. According to recent estimates, one out of every five U.S. trafficking victims travels through Texas along Interstate 10. Nearly 20 percent of human trafficking victims found nationwide have been in Texas. The DOJ Report on Activities to Combat Human Trafficking, Fiscal Years 2001-2005 included El Paso and Houston in its list of “most intense trafficking jurisdictions in the country.”Sen. Van de Putte said that international agencies now consider human trafficking the second largest global criminal enterprise behind drug smuggling, tied with illegal arms smuggling. Moreover, she said, of the three it's the fastest growing.
Most of the recommendations in the report involve more training for police and others in the justice system and more data gathering and analysis, but they also suggested a couple of expansions of new criminal statutes passed last session, in particular making "commercial sexual exploitation of a person less than 18 years of age as a per se violation of the human trafficking statute," and also to "Define and criminalize child sex tourism.'” (That last one's a headscratcher ... was anybody out there claiming "child sex tourism" is legal?)
In addition to the AG's report, the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee had an interim charge on human trafficking, but they held that hearing outside of Austin and no video or audio was ever made available online. We'll get a sense of their analysis, and whether it differs from General Abbott, when they release their interim report sometime before the legislative session begins.
See MSM coverage here, here, here, and here, and a related blog post from the national ACLU. Sen. Van de Putte's bill on the subject is SB 89, for those interested the details of her proposals.