Child Sex Trafficking Team Newsletter

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Office of the Texas Governor, Child Sex Trafficking Team


On March 2, 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence was adopted, creating the Republic of Texas. As we reflect on our state's unique origins and history, we recognize that its spirit of pursuing freedom and justice remains alive and evident in our work today. Texas has been a trailblazer in the fight against human trafficking: from being one of the first two states in the country to enact a human trafficking statute nearly 20 years ago; to implementing a unique model for addressing commercial sexual exploitation of youth; to recently becoming the first state to make the purchase of sex a felony on the first offense. We are thankful for partners across the state whose grit and determination keep moving us forward in the fight against human trafficking. This month's newsletter features opportunities to remain engaged as well as success stories from around the state.


Training Opportunities

TEA Webinar Series: Human Trafficking Prevention Resources

Friday, March 4th from 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM

The Texas Education Agency and its Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Workgroup have been hosting a webinar series to support schools in addressing exploitation and trafficking. The next installment will focus on prevention resources and will feature panelists from Unbound and Project Protect Our Children. Join us to learn about prevention resources for schools and other child-serving organizations.

Register for this Webinar


When Family is a Force for Harm: Ending Interfamilial Trafficking

Thursday, March 10th from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

This webinar is hosted by World Without Exploitation and will explore the root causes and consequences of interfamilial human trafficking, while thinking in new ways about how to address it. Featured speakers include Joyclyn Bell, co-founding member of the Northwest Survivor Alliance; Bethany Gilot, national consultant on anti-human trafficking policy and practice; and Christine Stark, author and professor.

Register for this Webinar


CSTT Webinar Series: TABC's Response to Human Trafficking

Thursday, April 7th from 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

The Child Sex Trafficking Team’s first quarterly webinar of 2022 will spotlight efforts of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. TABC plays a key role in stopping human trafficking from taking place within licensed alcohol retailers such as bars, nightclubs, and convenience stores. Join us to learn how TABC is addressing human trafficking and how communities can support those efforts.

Register for this Webinar

Human Trafficking License Plate Design Contest

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is partnering with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to create a “Stop Human Trafficking” specialty license plate. HHSC has organized a contest to determine the design of the new license plate. Proceeds from the sale of the license plate will be used to fund programs serving youth survivors of human trafficking in Texas. If you know a business, individual, or agency with design skills and a desire to make a difference, please share this opportunity!

Deadline for submissions is April 30, 2022.

View specialty license plate contest rules and additional information (PDF).

Youth Action Board In-A-Box

Project Protect Our Children recently launched a student engagement toolkit to provide schools, faith communities, and youth-serving organizations with the necessary resources to launch a Youth Action Board. The Youth Action Board (YAB) Program was created to engage and empower youth in the fight to end human trafficking. The YAB model first launched in 2020 and is now available as a replicable club program statewide through the Youth Action Board In-A-Box. Project Protect Our Children is also launching an online community of practice platform. This online community will harness the collective intelligence of YAB Advisors and provide resources for YAB Members.
Visit the Project Protect Our Children website to learn more or e-mail to request a free YAB In-A-Box.

Deadline Approaching: Nominations for the Light the Way to End Human Trafficking Award

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is accepting nominations for the Light the Way to End Human Trafficking Award. All partners in the effort to end human trafficking are encouraged to submit nominations by the deadline – March 11, 2022. The award will be presented at the agency’s 2022 Summit. First awarded in 2019, the Light the Way to End Human Trafficking Award recognizes individuals for their outstanding contributions to the advancement of human rights and anti-trafficking initiatives. The award is symbolized by a crystal star because human trafficking is a dark issue and stellar work in the fight against human trafficking shines bright like a star in a dark sky.

Nomination Deadline: March 11, 2022

Learn more about selection criteria and submit a nomination.

Funding Opportunities: Federal Forecast

The federal Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) has several grant opportunities that are expected to be published before the next edition of our bi-monthly newsletter. Click the links below to access the forecast for specific human trafficking funding opportunities that are anticipated to be published this spring. Interested organizations may also search for other federal grant opportunities.

April 2022 Survivor Recognition Event

The Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force invites you to an event at the Texas State Capitol on April 27 at 11am. To receive more information as the date approaches, please RSVP to:

Survivor Recognition Event

This event takes place during National Crime Victims' Rights Week, which will be commemorated April 24-30, 2022. For more information on this week and related activities around the country, visit the Office for Victims of Crime website.

Success Stories

CSTT starr


With funding from the Texas Workforce Investment Council in the Office of the Governor, the Texas Workforce Commission recently launched a pilot program connecting foster youth and survivors of sex trafficking to Training and Employment Navigators. Economic vulnerability is a major risk factor for exploitation, and this program will help survivors and at-risk youth access the services needed to find and maintain employment leading to independence and self-sufficiency.


Hotels across the state are now providing annual training to employees to identify and respond to human trafficking. New legislation mandating this training for commercial lodging establishments of 10 or more rooms took effect on January 1, 2022. Information about current training as well as how to get a training program approved can be found on the Office of the Attorney General’s website.


Since the last CSTT newsletter, three additional communities have formally launched Care Coordination Teams - congratulations to our partners in Brazos County, Kerr County, and Travis County! Through collaborative efforts, each of these communities created protocols to work together and meet the needs of child sex trafficking survivors. With these additions, sixteen Care Coordination Teams are now operational across the state.

Support Healing

The Refuge Ranch, a long-term residential program funded by our office shared a recent success story from its on-site charter school. Three residents were able to complete their high school credits and pass all tests to graduate from high school in December. These girls not only found the desire to graduate but also worked to improve their GPAs in the process. They also chose to continue their academic journey, and all three are currently enrolled in college and have started their first semester of classes. 

Bring Justice

Based on a recommendation from the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force, new legislation was passed to make the purchase of sex a felony on the first offense. This law is the first of its kind in the country and went into effect on September 1, 2021. Law enforcement agencies across the state are proactively addressing demand, and over 800 arrests were made under the new statute in its first five months. For just one example of agencies coming together to tackle demand, check out this story about operations in West Texas that led to the arrest of 35 suspects for sex buying and online solicitation of minors.