First Lady Cecilia Abbott Participates In White House Human Trafficking Summit

January 31, 2020 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

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.