State Representative Ben Leman has filed legislation aimed at combatting human trafficking in Texas.
Last week, Leman filed House Bill 1005, which amends several areas of the Code of Criminal Procedure to offer further protections for human trafficking victims and provide law enforcement with critical contact information they need to identify traffickers.
State Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston) will file the companion for Leman’s bill in the Senate.
The bill states that in addition to the current bond requirements, a bond for the defendant charged with any human trafficking related offense, as outlined by the bill, must include the address, identification number, and state of issuance as shown on a valid driver’s license or identification card for the person executing the bond.
Current statute only requires the person executing the bond to provide a mailing address and signature, but, according to Leman, there are no processes in place to confirm that the information provided is valid.
In addition, the bill requires that for certain human trafficking related offenses, condition for release on bond must indicate that a defendant cannot come into contact with the victim, or bond will be revoked. The bill also increases the current age of an offense that is committed against a child from 14 years of age to younger than 18.
Leman said Texas consistently ranks second worst in the nation for the number of reported human trafficking cases, and that he is “honored” to bring forth this legislation. He said this bill will give additional resources to local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors of these cases, and will bring the state “one step closer to putting an end to this horrific practice.”