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

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Office of the Texas Governor, Child Sex Trafficking Team

Dear Partners:

It’s hard to believe that kids are already returning to school! What a busy summer it’s been.

On May 31st, the 87th regular legislative session ended with numerous bills addressing human trafficking and waiting for the Governor’s signature to become law. These bills included the vast majority of the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Taskforce’s priorities, including becoming the first state to make buying commercial sex a felony and prohibiting sexually oriented businesses from employing youth. Other bills that made it to the Governor’s desk establish no trafficking zones at schools, require human trafficking education in Texas driving education, enhance signage requirements regarding identifying and reporting trafficking, and establish a new funding source for services to survivors.
In celebration of enacting this many impactful anti-HT laws during an otherwise very busy session, Governor Abbott hosted a ceremonial bill signing that included advocates and survivors who testified for and supported the bills and legislators who authored and sponsored them. See the link to our Legislative Update Webinar below for more information!


GGA Bill


Also, this summer, we continue to see record numbers of vulnerable children and youth coming across our southern border. These youth are at extreme risk of trafficking and exploitation. If you interact with or care for any of these youth, please see this short video from the Office in Trafficking in Persons about what to do if you think they’ve been trafficked.

Lastly, right in time for back to school, where children are going to be spending lots of time on devices, we launched the R.E.A.L Friends Don't online safety campaign in San Antonio with First Lady Cecilia Abbott. The goal of this campaign is to empower parents and caregivers to protect their children from harmful content, grooming, or online exploitation. Through a partnership with the Outdoor Advertising Association of Texas, the McCain Institute, and faith leader members of GRACE (Governor’s Response Against Child Exploitation), we are amplifying prevention education messages in social media and on billboards in 70 Texas markets in both English and Spanish. Check out our webinar on September 9th (more info below) to learn more and how you can become a part of this incredibly important campaign.


REAL Friends Dont


If you feel like going back to school, check out the amazing learning opportunities in the newsletter, and in these trying times, the success stories we always include at the end.

Thank you for your continued work in the fight,


Monthly Webinar Series

R.E.A.L. Friends Don’t – The Growing Crime of Online Exploitation of Children and How We Can Prevent It - September 9th 

Join CSTT, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and the McCain Institute to learn about the latest information and trends on online exploitation of youth and the latest resources for keeping children and youth safer.

Register for this Webinar


Recorded Webinar: Human Trafficking Updates from the 87th Legislative Session - July 15th

Todd Latiolais, Prevention & Policy Administrator with the Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team, provides an overview of new legislation impacting the issue of human trafficking. Access the webinar here.

Funding Opportunity for Foster Care Alumni

Pandemic Relief (PanAid) Funds Available for Aged Out Foster Youth

Pandemic Relief Funds (PanAid) are available for people who aged out of the TEXAS foster care system and were born between born between April 30, 1993 and September 30, 2001. Those who apply and qualify can receive $500 plus additional money to cover expenses they had had during the pandemic. Applications and more information can be found at: for applications: September 15, 2021. 


PanAid Community Funding Distribution Partners

PanAid continues to seek community funding distribution partners that work with adults who aged out of foster care to assist in distributing Pandemic Relief Funds (PanAid) to aged out foster youth. See for additional information.

Employment Opportunity

The Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD) is seeking qualified applicants to fill the vacant Community Outreach & Information Coordinator (Information Specialist IV) position, Job posting 2021-65 (TWC Job #: 14738761)

The complete job description and job application instructions are available on the Governor’s website at:

More information on the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities and its programs and initiatives is available at:

Training Opportunities

Human Trafficking and Vulnerable Populations: August 25 

Host: The Human Trafficking Capacity Building Center
While there is no defining characteristic of a human trafficking victim, traffickers often look for victims with noticeable vulnerabilities such as lack of social support networks, low self-esteem, or financial or housing insecurity. Join a panel of experts to learn about tools to identify vulnerable populations in your community and discuss how to develop outreach strategies and remove barriers for accessing services.

Register for this Webinar



Confronting School Violence and Victimization: August 26 

Host: Center for Victim Research
Learn about the results of a large National Institute of Justice-funded meta-analysis on the sources of school violence and victimization (Individual, Institutional, and Community Sources of School Violence: A Meta-Analysis). This review included various forms of aggression and crime within K-12 schools; and over 30 different individual, school, and community risk and protective factors. Special focus will also be given to the victimization of LGBTQ youth at school. Presenters will discuss the findings and policy implications, along with promising actions that researchers, practitioners, and advocates can take to advance science and best respond to violence and victimization in schools.

Register for this Training


Law Enforcement Webinar Series: August 26

Host: Collective Liberty
Kimberly Duchamp, Special Crimes Chief with the Jefferson County (TX) DA's Office, will present on approaches to successfully working with law enforcement and charging buyers. This webinar series is intended for active law enforcement only and all registration requests will be reviewed for law enforcement affiliation. This presentation will focus on trial and prosecutor case building, but it may also be relevant to investigators.

Register for this Webinar



Child Sex Trafficking: From Suspicion to Disclosure: August 31 & September 2

Host: National Criminal Justice Training Center
Learn techniques and strategies to enhance the likelihood of obtaining information from possible victims of child sex trafficking. Compare and contrast typical child sexual abuse cases with child sex trafficking (CST) cases and address the different points of entry into the criminal justice and welfare system for CST victims. Understand various disciplines' roles and responsibilities and how they can contribute to a positive outcome of the CST case. Examine question strategy, interview dynamics, language use, and interview suggestions. Discuss the business model of child sex trafficking as it relates to a variety of crimes, including the use of sexually explicit images of minors (child pornography).

Register for August 31


Register for September 2



Response to At-Risk Missing and High-Risk Endangered Missing Children: September 9

Host: National Criminal Justice Training Center
Gather information on how to engage and construct a collaborative response to at-risk missing and high-risk endangered missing children. Explore how a missing child’s path to becoming a victim of exploitation intersects with the child protection, law enforcement and juvenile justice systems and acts as a risk factor to abductions. Identify opportunities within those systems for prevention and engagement. Examine the complex, layered exploitation these victims endure and how exploiters capitalize on this victimization. There is NO FEE to attend this training; however, pre-registration is required. The deadline to register is August 26, 2021. Registrations will still be accepted after this date based on your qualifications to attend and if seats are still available.

Register for this Training



Emerging Issues Webinar Series: Economic Mobility and Financial Literacy: September 22

The National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center will host a 90-minute webinar on emerging trends and case studies addressing economic mobility. The webinar will highlight survivor-informed models that organizations may implement on financial literacy and sustainable employment opportunities for people who have experienced trafficking

Register for this Webinar


Success Stories

CSTT starr


Online exploitation of children is at an all-time high and is growing rapidly as tech use grows. Tech giant Apple just announced new policies for their products that will help protect children from online exploitation and flag and report known child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on devices using iCloud Photos. First, the Messages app will use on-device machine learning to detect and warn senders and receivers about illicit content. Also, Siri and Search will provide parents and children expanded information and help if they encounter unsafe situations. Siri and Search will also intervene when users try to search for CSAM-related topics. Lastly, Apple will flag and report any known CSAM images in iCloud Photos.



We are so proud of Texas continuing to rank #1 of all states in proactively identifying child sex trafficking victims. Hundreds of stakeholders are screening high risk youth for trafficking and exploitation using the CSE-IT tool. Youth that are screened as “clear concern” should be reported as suspected child abuse victims to child protective services. If there is abuse or neglect by family or household members, the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has jurisdiction to investigate and intervene. If the abuse is not from a family or household member, DFPS will send the information and referral to local law enforcement, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and appropriate Children’s Advocacy Center for review and appropriate multi-disciplinary team response. Children scoring “clear concern” are eligible for care coordination, CSEY advocacy, and other available services to address their needs without having to make an outcry or having to wait for authorities to confirm their victimization, which can take years, according to research and what we’ve seen in practice. The use of the CSE-IT and the delivery of services to a child that follow a score of “clear concern” ensures that Texas is recognizing these young victims as soon as possible in order to protect them from further victimization and trauma.

Between 2016 and July 2021, 46,546 children have been screened in Texas. Only 12% of those high risk youth scored a clear concern for exploitation.

CSE-IT chart



One of our newest drop in centers has a growing number of youth coming to get their needs met and build relationships because of its excellent reputation in the youth community. Here are some of the comments received by the youth themselves this quarter: 1) This is a safe place. I’ve opened up about things I have never opened up about. 2) This place is amazing. I've never had my boundaries respected like this before and have never felt so welcome in a last-resort situation. Thank you for being here. 3) You guys save lives. I appreciate you all so much. I have people that care about me. Thank you guys for saving my life. 4) The people here are safe and they really don't want anything back from me after they help or do stuff for me. The only thing they want is for me to be safe and protected and loved. I really appreciate all the staff here because they each make me feel safe and welcomed. This is my safe place, I love you all. 5) I never knew there was such good people in this world. 


Support Healing

One of our grantees providing specialized foster care helped Maria reunify successfully with her grandmother and siblings. Maria also successfully completed her sophomore year in high school and is looking forward to junior year! Francesca, another child served in a different foster home just graduated high school and is working full time. Francesca decided, though, to stay with her foster family in extended care, saying that her foster family is the only “true” family she has.


Bring Justice

CSTT grantees and partners are bringing justice to exploiters!

McClennan County Sheriff’s Office has made numerous arrests of men trying to buy children for sex, including a high school girls basketball and volleyball coach. Harris County District Attorney’s office recently accepted a guilty plea from a 26-year old trafficker with no previous criminal history for multiple counts of trafficking, including victims as young as 14 years old. He received a 25 year sentence.