Law

The Texas legislature passes new laws to help prevent human trafficking

The Julia Wells Act and House Bill 3721 will require information about human trafficking prevention to be available at local businesses.

TEXAS, USA — During the 87th regular session of the Texas legislature over 30 new state laws were passed that will go into effect on September 1st. Two of these laws have to do with the prevention and awareness of Human Trafficking.

 Due to laws passed in 2019 and 2017, cosmetology and massage establishments were required to post human trafficking awareness signs in their place of business. Newly passed House Bill 3721 requires the contact information for the Department of Public Safety to be added to the signs.

“Where they have specific – you know, if you see something, say something. The legislatures wanted to add that [information] that the establishments were already required to have,” Tela Mange, the Public Information Officer for the Department of Licensing & Regulation said.

H.B. 3721 will help those who aren’t personally being trafficked but think someone else is.

“You think somebody ought to know about that, it gives them [anyone] a place to contact, to let them [DPS] contact, that you might not know what it is but you think someone is in trouble,” Mange said.

House Bill 985 or the Julia Wells Act will ensure each driver education course or driving safety course will include information relating to human trafficking prevention.

Julia Wells was a young lady who got involved in a human trafficking situation, she was very young and found herself hanging out with people who didn’t have her best interests at heart,” Mange said.

Julia Wells lost her life to human trafficking but Mange said Julia’s parents wouldn’t let her life be in vain.

“They were going to do something to make sure young people are aware of things that can happen when you hang out with the wrong folks,” Mange said, “I think that the theory is that even if it’s just one little seed that gets planted at some point, it takes root and it saves one young person then it’s a win.”

The Julia Wells act won’t be enacted until September 1st, 2022.

Written by Elisabeth Tharp

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