AUSTIN — As state leaders and law enforcement officers prepare to mark National Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Jan. 11, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is joining with the Office of the Governor and others to help combat this crime in the Lone Star State.
As the regulator of the alcoholic beverage industry in Texas, TABC plays a key role in stopping organized crime – including human trafficking – taking place within licensed alcohol retailers such as bars, nightclubs and convenience stores.
“TABC is on the front lines when it comes to stopping human trafficking in Texas,” TABC Chairman Kevin J. Lilly said. “What some people forget is that alcohol retailers such as bars or restaurants can sometimes serve as a legitimate front for traffickers or other organized crime syndicates. What TABC is doing is using our authority over all alcohol retailers, distributors and manufacturers to build a network of industry members, law enforcement agencies and citizens to stop this blight on our state.”
TABC’s Special Investigations Unit is responsible for conducting long-term investigations into suspected human trafficking taking place within licensed businesses, and agents frequently join forces with local, state and federal partners on long-term, undercover investigations into organized crime across the state. The agency also employs a victim services coordinator to assist trafficking victims in obtaining much-needed medical and social services after they’re freed from suspected traffickers.
Ultimately, stopping trafficking comes down to the actions of everyday Texans who take a stand against organized crime in the Lone Star State, Lilly said.
“Hands down, the most important tool we have in the fight against human trafficking is the cooperation of Texans and their willingness to stand up for the health and safety of their communities,” Lilly said. “It’s absolutely critical that all Texans make themselves aware of the warning signs of human trafficking, and that we all commit to do our part to help end this terrible crime.”
As part of Human Trafficking Prevention Month, TABC’s social media channels will feature stories from educators and law enforcement on the fight against human trafficking in Texas. To learn more about TABC’s mission to stop human trafficking and to get additional resources, visit tabc.texas.gov/public-safety/enforcement-initiatives-operations/stop-human-trafficking/.
To learn more about the Office of the Governor’s Preventing Human Trafficking initiative, visit gov.texas.gov/organization/women/preventing-human-trafficking.
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