Austin City Council passes resolution approving "Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative"


October 16, 2015  •  Austin, Texas

After several months of preparation and collaboration with Allies Against Slavery, Council Member Ellen Troxclair sponsored a resolution this week addressing human trafficking in Austin. 

The resolution, introduced as the "Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative", recognizes the important work currently being done by local organizations and signifies a continued public commitment by the City of Austin to be a national leader in the movement to end human trafficking.

  Council Member Troxclair delivers remarks at the press conference

Council Member Troxclair delivers remarks at the press conference

Council Member Troxclair stated, “Human trafficking is a malicious and devastating crime.  But, what many people don’t realize is that it is happening right here in Austin.  With cases of human trafficking on the rise in Travis County, it’s critical that our community is mobilized to combat this horrific practice.”

At a press event on Thursday, C.M. Troxclair was joined by Mayor Adler, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, and the resolution's co-sponsoring council members as well as members of the Allies Against Slavery team. In a strong show of support, Mayor Adler declared that, "We are a city that values every person. We believe that every person has fundamental rights." The Mayor went on to say, "You cannot be the father of three girls without having this issue hit home."

Shortly after the press event ended, Allies Against Slavery received word that the City Council voted unanimously to approve the resolution. Specifically, the passing vote directs the City Manager to:

  1. Incorporate information about preventing, identifying, and responding to human trafficking into existing training for City employees
  2. Develop plans and policies to prevent and reduce human trafficking
  3. Appoint a liaison to coordinate collaborative solutions between the City and Network partners to end human trafficking in Austin.

“There hasn’t been a coordinated effort from the City," said CM Troxclair. "I think [in the near future] the hope is we can say definitively that we are free from human trafficking in Austin and Travis County."

John Nehme, President & CEO of Allies said, “This is not a problem that can be solved by one individual or one organization. Traffickers are increasingly sophisticated and well-networked, making use of technology as a means of exploitation. Our response must be equally sophisticated and networked. It takes the whole community linking arms, taking a stand, and sending a message loud and clear that trafficking has no place in our city. This resolution does just that.”

Photos From the Press Event

Watch the Live Stream 

John Nehme's remarks on behalf of Allies begin at the 10:55 minute mark.



Full Remarks by Allies' President & CEO

Good morning! Thank you, Council Member Troxclair, for your leadership as sponsor of the resolution. Thank you, Mayor Adler and co-sponsoring Council Members, for your advocacy and support. And thank you, Chief Acevedo, for your unwavering commitment to combat this crime.

Human trafficking is a form of exploitation that thrives when hidden in darkness. But when we publicly acknowledge the truth of this reality, light begins to drive out the darkness.

This resolution is an example of how partners from different sectors can and must work together to solve one of our City’s most complex social issues.

This resolution also sends a message:

1) To traffickers, the message is that you have no business in our city.

2) To victims and survivors, the message is that you are not invisible or alone. You are valued, worth our support, and there is a community ready to walk with you.

3) And to every resident, the message is that you have the power to make your community a place of greater freedom and flourishing.

It’s been said that “Hope is not an emotion, but a way of thinking. That hope is a function of struggle.” So let us hope together as we continue our shared struggle to make Austin the kind of city where traffickers cannot exploit the vulnerable and where survivors can truly heal. Today we are taking an important step toward that vision, and I would urge the rest of the City Council to vote in favor of passing this resolution.
— John Nehme, Allies President & CEO