On January 31, 2020 Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott today attended the White House Human Trafficking Summit, and met with federal officials to discuss Texas’ efforts to combat human trafficking. The First Lady was joined by Andrea Sparks, Director of the Office of the Governor Child Sex Trafficking Team, and met with officials from the White House Domestic Policy Council, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The meeting included a briefing on the ways Texas leads the nation in the fight against human trafficking, as well as a discussion on how the state of Texas can continue to partner with the federal government on this important issue in the future.
“Texas is a national leader in the fight against the atrocity of human trafficking, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share our hard work with our federal partners in Washington, D.C.,” the First Lady said. “In the Lone Star State, we work tirelessly to support survivors and bring perpetrators to justice, but this important work requires the help of all Texans. And I have no doubt that by fostering an even stronger collaborative effort with our federal partners, we can end the inhumanity of human trafficking.”
The First Lady shared many initiatives that Texas has developed to help combat human trafficking. Texas passed one of the first state-level anti-trafficking laws in the United States. Through the efforts of the Child Sex Trafficking Team (CSTT) and the Department of Public Safety (DPS), tens of thousands of Texans and DPS officers have been trained on how to identify and report human trafficking. The First Lady’s Office also partnered with CSTT, A21, and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Texas, to launch the “Can You See Me?” statewide campaign featuring billboards, radio spots and social media posts to urge reporting to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Additionally, the Governor and First Lady launched the GRACE Initiative alongside the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), to encourage faith communities to move from awareness to action. More recently, the Governor’s Commission for Women partnered with the Texas Department of Transportation to launch the “On the Road to End Human Trafficking” campaign, which trains field staff and the public on how to recognize the signs of human trafficking.
Corporate Partnerships are Making a Powerful Impact for New Friends New Life Mission to Eliminate Human Trafficking
Dallas-based New Friends New Life (NFNL) recognizes the power of partnering with corporations committed to thier mission. To magnify the fight against sex trafficking, collaboration with governments, law enforcement, faith groups, and businesses are key.
American Airlines and Motel 6 are part of the corporate initiative.
Announced in January, American Airlines and NFNL formed a partnership to raise awareness and support the needs of Dallas-area women and teens who have been affected by sex trafficking. As part of the partnership, American Airlines team members will also engage in a series of human trafficking awareness training sessions and participate in volunteer activities.
A multi-city, simultaneous training session was held on January 24, to prepare employees ahead of the Super Bowl. At Miami International Airport, groups of front-line team members participated in a human trafficking seminar led by Kim Robinson, CEO, and Jessica Brazeal, Chief Programs Officer of NFNL. The same day, at the DFW corporate office, Bianca Jackson, Chief Development Officer, described to a group of over 100 American Airlines employees, the challenges of human trafficking and the toll the crime takes on communities. Youth Survivor Mentor, Robbie Hamilton, also shared her personal story, bringing to light that trafficking happens in any neighborhood and no youth is immune to being a target.
Motel 6 will begin a three-year partnership with NFNL providing financial support and in-kind donations, while receiving education and training in the form of Lunch & Learn meetings. Additionally, the company has put in place a Rapid Response Team to respond to instances of trafficking activity to assure adherence to company policy.
“New Friends New Life is pleased to have Motel 6 joining in our efforts to combat #StandforHer!
By providing access to education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental health, and spiritual support, New Friends New Life helps women and children overcome backgrounds of abuse, addiction, poverty, and limited opportunities.