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

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Office of the Texas Governor, Child Sex Trafficking Team

Dear Partners:

Can you believe the Holiday Season is upon us already? This is an especially hard time for the survivors we work with and all of us who are grieving a loss. But we must take time to celebrate each other and say thank you. CSTT is especially grateful to all of you who work tirelessly to prevent, identify, and interdict trafficking and exploitation and to empower survivors to find their way to true freedom. We celebrate that, together, we are helping to make our world a safer place for children and youth and others vulnerable to trafficking. One of the favorite things in my office is this plain print out on copy paper near my desk:


Can You Pic


I mean, can you really believe we get to do this? And, we get to do it together, helping each other be the best we can be for survivors and potential victims.

Sincerely grateful,


Research Resources

2021 CSTT Research Volume 2

The 2021 second edition of Research Resources, a compilation of articles, offers a new collection in all five strategic areas of Protect, Recognize, Recover, Support Healing, and Bringing Justice. Several new articles discuss the importance of client-centered, trauma-informed approaches to working with an exploited youth and affirm the need to work with their protective parents for more positive long-term outcomes.  

Week of Prayer

GRACE (Governor’s Response Against Child Exploitation) will be hosting its 2nd Annual Week of Prayer January 10-16, 2022, coinciding with the National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness on January 11, 2022. 

Faith communities across Texas will be encouraged to unite in prayer, become better educated about human trafficking, and discern opportunities to prevent exploitation and support survivors.

Watch the virtual interfaith launch event from the 2021 Week of Prayer. Information and resources for the 2022 Week of Prayer will be posted on the GRACE webpage and announced to you all when available – stay tuned!

Webinar Series

Recorded: First Spouses' Global Human Trafficking Summit

October 14, 2021

First Lady of Texas Cecilia Abbott and First Lady of Louisiana Donna Edwards have partnered in the past year to educate other first spouses along with key stakeholders across the country on anti-human trafficking efforts and resources they can bring back to their own states. The latest educational summit in October 2021 was hosted by the Texas Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team and focused on the growing crime of online exploitation of children and solutions to prevent it. Featured in this recording of the summit are:

  • First Lady Donna Edwards of Louisiana
  • Andrea Galliano Sparks, Director, Governor Abbott's Child Sex Trafficking Team
  • Special Agent Jack Station, Homeland Security Investigations
  • Belinda Swan, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
  • Kristen Abrams, McCain Institute - REAL Friends Don't
  • Sonya Ryan, Carly Ryan Foundation - Not on Our Watch, Texas
  • And a special message from First Lady Abbott

Grant Awards

Despite ongoing diminishing of the federal Victims of Crime Act grants to states from record levels a few years ago, CSTT was able to award over $20,000,000 in grants to 79 agencies to prevent and combat human trafficking, and recover and support the healing of survivors. The vast majority of these grants – over $17 million - fund projects that provide services to child and adult survivors as we make progress in building a continuum of care across the state. CSTT is so proud of our partners who received funding this year and we are already learning alongside them on how we can continuously improve our Texas Model to Address Child Sexual Exploitation of Youth (CSEY).

The next round of funding opportunities will be released mid-December on our Egrants page and applications will be due mid-February 2022 for grants to start October 1, 2022.

Success Stories

CSTT starr


The Child Sex Trafficking Team partnered with First Lady Cecilia Abbott, the McCain Institute, and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Texas to launch the statewide “R.E.A.L. Friends Don’t” online safety awareness campaign for youth and families. The campaign features social media and billboards in 70 markets across Texas to educate the public about online exploitation and how to prevent it, recognize it, and report it.  GRACE members, The Governor’s Commission for Women, and local anti-trafficking and exploitation leaders also participated. 

REAL Friends Don't



Since 2016, Texas child-serving agencies have been increasingly using the Commercial Sexual Exploitation-Identification Tool (CSE-IT) to identify children and young adults that are likely victims of sex trafficking and exploitation. Five years later, Texas has surpassed 58,200 screenings of children and youth, with 71.9% scoring no concern, not enough information, 15.7% possible concern, and 12.4% clear concern. A score of clear concern means that the child or youth screened is very likely a victim of exploitation, based on presence of research-based indicators, and therefore, that child or youth is a “presumed victim” in Texas, eligible for Care Coordination and CSEY Advocacy and other services where applicable. As we increase use of the CSE-IT, we increase identifications of children and youth who desperately need services without waiting for them to outcry, which they are very unlikely to do. And, we redouble our efforts to build a continuum of care in each region of the state to provide services to recover and support the healing of these survivors.

CSE-IT Chart


CSTT grantee, Collective Liberty, responded to the U.S. Attorney’s call for help identifying survivors exploited on CityXGuide in our last newsletter! And, by using their human trafficking fusion center and a smart analyst, they were able to identify an additional 4 victims in an ongoing Homeland Security Investigations sex trafficking investigation. Way to go!


Support Healing

One of our grantees reports that since Haley (not her real name) entered their residential program months ago, she has earned her GED, held a part-time job and enrolled in college courses with the goal of earning a psychology degree. Although Haley has “aged out” of the program, the relationships she’s been able to form with her caregivers have not, and she wants to stay close. The program is renovating a small cottage on the campus to allow Haley to live more independently while still enjoying strong program support and relationships.


Bring Justice

Recently, DPS Special Agent Randy Kaiser recorded a podcast about how he uses Trust Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) to improve his connection to young human trafficking survivors and enhance his investigations. Special Agent Kaiser is helping law enforcement and others around the State of Texas understand how being trauma-informed, responsive, and proactive can result in better justice for survivors of exploitation and anyone they encounter who has underlying trauma.