AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is launching a new donation account to raise funds for youth survivors of human trafficking. The funds will be used to provide dedicated housing and treatment services.
House Bill 2633, signed by Governor Greg Abbott in 2021, authorizes the creation of the account to provide grants to facilities committed to the recovery and protection of vulnerable children and adolescents impacted by human trafficking.
"The State of Texas is committed to eradicating the scourge of human trafficking in our communities, and we will stop at nothing to ensure justice and healing for survivors of this horrific crime," said Gov. Abbott. "I was proud to sign HB 2633 into law during the 87th Legislative Session, which bolsters our anti-human trafficking efforts by ensuring that youth survivors have access to the resources and services they need to heal and recover. The donation fund created through this law serves as a great opportunity for Texans to come together to support survivors of human trafficking."
The setup of the new fund is a joint effort by HHSC, the Department of Information Resources, the Texas Comptroller's Office and the Department of Family and Protective Services.
"Children and young adults who have been trafficked and exploited have experienced terrible trauma and with the funds we raise in this account, we will provide specific trauma-informed services to help these young Texans heal in their recovery," said Michael Roberts, HHSC associate commissioner of Specialty and Family Services.
Human trafficking is the exploitation of people for commercial sex or labor against their will. According to a 2016 study by The University of Texas at Austin, an estimated 79,000 youth are victims of sex trafficking in Texas.
"Throughout my career representing victims of human trafficking and prosecuting human traffickers in our criminal justice system, I have witnessed the desperate need for stand-alone facilities in order to provide the needed recovery for human trafficking victims," said State Rep. Ann Johnson, who authored the legislation. "Together, with our agency and community partners, we are proud to announce a new opportunity for all Texans to join the fight against human trafficking. The funds generated by these donations are dedicated to providing shelter and recovery services to some of our most vulnerable and abused neighbors."
HHSC is establishing and administering the human trafficking grant program and will use the new dedicated funding to address the lack of emergency shelter and treatment services for child, youth and young adult survivors of human trafficking in Texas.
Grant program services include:
- Immediate trauma support for youth recovering from human trafficking.
- Wraparound services, such as trauma-informed mental and behavioral health services, medical care and referrals, substance use treatment and legal advocacy, to support continuity of care for human trafficking survivors.
- Safe and secure shelter that considers the clear and present danger of organized crime to the children and youth housed in the facilities.
HHSC is working closely with the Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Prevention Unit and DFPS to identify and place youth survivors into treatment facilities funded by the grant program.
The general public can access the donation account website to support youth human trafficking survivors. To donate, visit: www.texas.gov/StopTrafficking/.
Additionally, the donation account is available online to anyone who is obtaining or renewing a driver’s license, personal identification card or vehicle registration, or purchasing a specialty Stop Human Trafficking license plate.
To learn more about human trafficking, visit the HHSC Human Trafficking Resource Center website.