Office of the Governor's Child Sex Trafficking Team July Newsletter

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Office of the Texas Governor, Child Sex Trafficking Team

Dear Partners:

We hope you and yours are staying healthy in both body and mind during these trying times. In this edition of our newsletter, we are sharing some good news to brighten your week. As always, you'll see free training opportunities and funding announcements. But starting with this edition, we are going to start sharing a few success stories from our supported programs.

First, we want to give you an update. It's been 4 years since we started this work with all of you to develop and implement the Texas Model to Address the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Youth. Since then we've made good progress on each of our 5 goals, including identifying and serving thousands of young victims in Texas, who up until now were hidden in plain sight and suffering in silence. Here's where we are:


Protect children and youth by building their awareness of and resilience to exploitation and by curbing demand for child sex trafficking.

  • 53 local Boys and Girls Clubs sites have provided education and support to over 4,500 at-risk girls in order build protective factors and prevent exploitation.
  • Unbound's Keeping Students Safe program has brought prevention education to over 8,400 students, trained over 2,200 school personnel, and educated over 700 parents and caregivers.
  • Love146 has trained over 400 professionals on human trafficking and licensed 96 new facilitators across the state to implement Not a #Number, an interactive five-module prevention curriculum for youth.
  • PROTECT Texas has provided online staff training and access to student prevention curricula to 190 users from 26 school districts and 40 service providers. 
  • CEASE Texas has tracked over 1 million unique ads for commercial sex, engaged in 4,695 texts with potential buyers through its chatbot, and disrupted 849 attempts to purchase sex through cyber patrols.

Recognize sexual exploitation by raising public awareness and by implementing screening tools to identify potential victims.

  • Over a hundred youth-serving agencies and juvenile probation offices are using the CSE-IT (Commercial Sexual Exploitation Identification Tool) and have screened 23,103 at risk youth in Texas. Of these, 2,542 (11%) scored "Clear Concern", meaning that they are likely victims of sexual exploitation and are eligible for services to address trauma, including a full needs assessment, care coordination, and CSEY (Commercial Sexually Exploited Youth) advocacy. 16% of screened youth scored "Possible Concern" and 73% of screened youth scored "No Concern" or "Not Enough Information."
  • We've worked to raise awareness and educated hundreds of thousands of Texans through the Be the One and Can You See Me? campaigns as well as targeted training for first responders, healthcare providers, educators, and others in a position to recognize indicators of trafficking.
  • In partnership with First Lady Cecilia Abbott, we launched GRACE (Governor’s Response Against Child Exploitation) to engage Texas faith leaders from a variety of religions and denominations in the fight against human trafficking. With the support of the CSTT and the Department of Family and Protective Services, a growing number of faith leaders are supporting each other to prevent and address exploitation in their congregations and communities.

Recover victims with protective and empowering collaborative responses and support the healing of survivors through a variety of trauma-informed and responsive services and supports.

  • 600 children (under 18) identified as confirmed or presumed victims (screened Clear Concern on the CSE-IT screening tool) have received or are receiving "care coordination" by multi-disciplinary teams facilitated by children's advocacy centers in Dallas, Tarrant, Comal, and Bexar Counties and by Harris County Protective Services in Harris County. Care coordination is being implemented to serve children in Collin, Denton, Jefferson, Kerr, Lubbock, Montgomery, Travis and Williamson Counties later this year.
  • 1,613 youth have been served or are being served by one of our 17 CSEY Advocacy Agencies, including 1,006 youth recovered in crisis by law enforcement or other first responders. CSEY Advocates provide long-term trust-based relational support and case management to youth up to age 22. They have been trained in trauma-informed care and CSEY Advocacy minimum standards and best practices.
  • 1,681 youth have been served by 6 drop in centers and 440 of these youth have been successfully referred to shelter or longer-term placement for at least one night.
  • 47 youth have found safety and shelter in one of the 3 emergency shelters we support.
  • 136 child victims have received long-term residential care in one of our 8 long-term programs (specialized foster care or group homes or residential treatment centers). 
  • Hundreds of adult victims have received shelter and safety in residential care and/or community based counseling and case management as part of our ever growing continuum of care for survivors.
  • 2,000 individuals from 30 agencies have been trained and supported in implementing Trust-Based Relational Intervention to provide trauma-informed responses and interactions to CSEY. Those trained include child-serving agencies, juvenile justice, child protective services, healthcare, and first responders. Youth in TBRI-infused programs exhibit less flight, fight, or freeze behaviors and more healthy coping skills.

Bring Justice for survivors by holding exploiters accountable.   

  • Under the Governor's leadership the past 4 years, laws and policies have been enacted that improve justice for survivors, including increasing penalties against exploiters, streamlining the processes by which survivors can clear their criminal records in order to obtain employment and housing, and enhancing the capacity of law enforcement, child welfare, healthcare, education, and other sectors with training and resources.
  • Collective Liberty has trained 100 Texas investigators and prosecutors in human trafficking case development using proactive technology-assisted and offender focused techniques and trauma-informed responses for victims. 36 more law enforcement and prosecutors are going to be trained next week!
  • This past spring, 7 county-based agencies received grant funding for innovative projects to address commercial sexual exploitation.
    • Collin County - Providing services and diversion to trafficked and high-risk youth who present to the juvenile justice system
    • Fort Bend County District Attorney - Improving investigations and prosecutions of child exploitation by focusing on technology and building cases without relying on victim testimony
    • Harris County Constable Precinct One - Conducting investigations related to child sex trafficking and providing support to the local juvenile justice system
    • Harris County District Attorney - Providing pre-arrest diversion and a mobile forensic unit to meet victims in a timely manner as well as targeted investigation and prosecution of traffickers, buyers, and other exploiters
    • Jasper County - Accessing training, technology, and equipment to better respond to sexual exploitation crimes
    • Jefferson County - Improving the investigative, prosecutorial, and community response to commercial sexual exploitation in Southeast Texas 
    • McLennan County Sheriff's Office - Combatting commercial sexual exploitation by targeting buyers, connecting exploited individuals with services, and training law enforcement agencies on victim-centered investigations

These are just some of the programs, projects and initiatives we fund and support. And, there is more to come! New grants are being awarded early this fall and we are collecting progress reports and satisfaction surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs and to foster continuous improvement.   

Thank you for partnering with us to make all this growth toward our goals of successfully addressing child sexual exploitation in the State of Texas possible! 

CSTT Monthly Webinar Series

The Attorney General of Texas' Role in Investigating and Prosecuting Human Trafficking:  August 13th from 1:00 - 2:00 P.M.

  • Cara Pierce will introduce her team from the Texas Attorney General's Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime Section (HTTOC), discuss lessons learned in her long career prosecuting trafficking, and talk about her team's strategy to increase prosecutions in Texas.

Register for this Webinar


Recent: Legal Representation for CSEY and Former Foster Youth: July 9th

  • Mary Christine Reed presented on Texas Rural Legal Aid's legal services for youth who have aged out of the foster care system and other vulnerable youth, including sexually exploited youth. Access the recorded webinar here.

Funding Opportunities

Relief, Restore, and Renew: Recovering from COVID-19

In partnership with the Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services, the Governor's Office is pleased to announce the Relief, Restore and Renew: Recovering from COVID-19 grant program. The grants will provide technology, therapeutic supplies, PPE and safety and virtual training kits. 

Nonprofit organizations working in the Texas child welfare system to provide direct-care child abuse and neglect prevention, early intervention, foster care, adoption, trafficking and other direct services who are in good standing with any state licensing or contracting authority are eligible for this project. Respondents may submit one proposal per organization. Applications are due July 21st, 2020 by 5 P.M. and tentative award announcements are anticipated on August 3rd, 2020. 

Proposals are required to be submitted online. Click here to find the online RFA, application form, and FAQs.


SAFE-Ready Facilities

Does your community need funding support for sexual assault forensic exams? Hospital facilities are eligible for state funding to create new SANE programs or help support existing ones.

The Governor’s Public Safety Office released a competitive funding opportunity for a 12-month project for hospital facilities seeking to achieve or maintain a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE)-Ready designation, as defined in Chapter 323 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. Applications may be submitted by general and special hospitals licensed under Chapter 241 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, a general or special hospital owned by the State, or a freestanding emergency medical care facility licensed under Chapter 254 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. Grants to a single facility may not exceed $50,000 in any fiscal year. A “single facility” is defined as a facility within a hospital system. Multiple “single facilities” with the same hospital system are eligible to apply individually. Current grantees are eligible to reapply.

Awarded grants will begin on 9/1/2020 and end on 9/30/2021. Interested and eligible applicants should fully review the funding announcement and must apply through eGrants. Applications are due by 5 P.M. on August 6, 2020.

For eligibility requirements, allowable costs, and additional information, please see the Funding Announcement: Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE)-Ready Facilities Program. Click here to review the eGrants User’s Guide to Creating an Application.

Trainings and Webinars

Best Practices for Remote Case Management and Telehealth Staff

The National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center will host a 90-minute webinar on emerging trends and case studies on the development of remote case management and telehealth to leverage community resources to provide services to individuals impacted by human trafficking during COVID-19. August 6th from 12:00 - 1:30 P.M..

Register for this Webinar


Save the Date: Children at Risk Virtual Summit on September 18

  • CHILDREN AT RISK’s Annual Summit on Human Trafficking: Demand Change will be taking place on Friday, September 18th, from 10:00 AM-1:00 PM. The Summit is virtual this year and will explore all facets of ending demand, showcase never before seen Texas buyer data, and feature activists and agencies from around the nation who are pioneering new tactics to deter sex buyers and change the culture. A registration link will be available soon. For more information contact:

Keeping Students Safe

  • Unbound's Keeping Students Safe Project is supported by a grant from the Child Sex Trafficking Team. The project encompasses free training and presentations for students, caregivers, educators, school nurses, social workers, and other youth-serving personnel. In light of COVID-19, Unbound has launched multiple virtual training sessions in both English and Spanish.

Virtual Training Schedule and Registration


  • Unbound recently launched a presenter licensing program to help bring Keeping Students Safe to communities across the state. This self-paced online course equips participants with presentations for youth in 6th-12th grade, school personnel, and caregivers. The new training program is free through October 2020.

Keeping Students Safe Presenter Licensing


PROTECT Texas Prevention Education and Training

  • 3Strands Global Foundation is partnering with the Child Sex Trafficking Team to generously offer Texas schools and youth-serving organizations free access for one year to online training modules to help those working with youth better identify and respond to human trafficking. Participants completing the training will also have access to an age-appropriate, trauma-informed curriculum to teach youth. Individuals will need a work e-mail account with a school or youth-serving organization to register for this opportunity.

Registration for Schools

Registration for Youth-Serving Organizations


SOAR to Health and Wellness

  •  The Office on Trafficking in Persons and the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center are offering a free 1.5-hour virtual SOAR to Health and Wellness training. The training teaches providers how to identify and respond to human trafficking and is appropriate for health care providers, public health professionals, behavioral health professionals, and social workers. This training is the first human trafficking training course for health care practitioners to be approved by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in accordance with HB 2059. The completion of an approved training course is a condition for registration, permit, or license renewal for certain health care practitioners as of September 1, 2020. 

July 29th Registration

August 19th Registration

September 2nd Spanish Registration


OJJDP Webinars

Supporting Heroes in Mental Health Foundational Training (SHIFT) was developed by The Innocent Justice Foundation with funding from Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). SHIFT aims to mitigate negative effects associated with exposure to child sexual exploitation and abuse materials. A schedule of upcoming SHIFT webinars is included below and a complete listing of OJJDP-sponsored trainings can be found online

  • Secondary Trauma & Traumatic Stress: Worldview Signs and How to Mitigate - 2:00 - 3:00 P.M.

July 24th Registration


Trust-Based Relational Intervention

  • The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development has generously opened up online access to their TBRI® training for free access until August 31, 2020. To access the course, please visit

Success Stories

CSEY advocates provide trust-based relational support and case management, helping youth connect to safe and healthy long-term relationships.  

Toya* was hospitalized for several days due to serious injuries from her trafficker. A CSEY advocate was dispatched and started to build rapport with Toya by spending time every day with her. The advocate comforted Toya with a weighted blanket and Bible readings Toya requested and helped Toya achieve and celebrate small wins like taking a shower, eating a meal, and sleeping. The advocate helped Toya eventually return home to her father and stepmother, where she is safe, attending school, and still receiving support from her advocate.

Drop-In centers give youth a safe place to make the changes and connections they need to make to escape exploitation and heal.

Stacy*, 18, had been visiting the drop-in center for about a year when she told her case manager there that she was ready to leave her life of sexual exploitation behind. The case manager connected Stacy to an employment program and six months later, Stacy is still employed, has her own apartment, and still attends group therapy at the drop in center.

Long-term residential programs help survivors move from surviving to thriving.

Maria*, a young mother, had been dreaming about getting her driver's license and car since she entered one of our supported placements over 2 years ago. She recently attained her goal as well as graduated from high school, and after a lifetime of abuse, neglect, and exploitation, can finally live the future she dreamed of.

*Names are changed to protect privacy.