Governor Abbott Pardons Human Trafficking Survivor Robbie Ann Hamilton
Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day in America. Human and sex trafficking is a heinous crime that preys on and exploits the vulnerable—especially women and children. Human trafficking often leads its victims down a path of petty offenses that then entraps them in a vicious cycle of abuse and crime associated with that abuse.
Texas has been at the forefront of educating the public about trafficking, punishing the traffickers, and guiding the victims back onto a path toward productive participation in society.
One of the surest signals of our commitment to helping victims of human trafficking is to show there is a true path to redemption for those victims. A way to demonstrate that is a gubernatorial pardon, for those who have truly escaped trafficking, for the crimes they may have committed while under the grips of traffickers.
That is the case with Robbie Ann Hamilton. She was lured into sex and human trafficking around the age of 15. From there, her life took a downward spiral that included some petty crimes—none of which involved harming or endangering the life or safety of another person.
Robbie eventually had a come to Jesus moment—literally. She begged God to help her quit drugs and the sex industry. She was baptized in jail and spent rehab getting to know the Bible and Jesus. She participated with groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and New Friends New Life, a human and sex trafficking victim relief organization. She reoriented her life toward helping homeless addicts in street ministries and doing other rehabilitation efforts.
Among other things, Robbie has sponsored women through the 12 Step Program, she speaks on addiction and the perils of the sex industry and sex trafficking, and she has been a member of a church that provides outreach to the homeless, addicted, and marginalized.
Eight letters were submitted to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles in support of a full pardon. No person or law enforcement agency submitted any letter in opposition to a pardon for Robbie. Staff at New Friends New Life report that Robbie did not just “find religion” in jail and then forget it once she left. Instead, she continues to help guide adolescent girls to make decisions based on Biblical principles and to avoid the pitfalls of drugs and sex. Natalie Nanasi, Assistant Professor and Director of Legal Center for Victims, SMU Dedman School of Law, states, “Hamilton has been a model member of society and has worked tirelessly to help other women.”
“The Texas Board of Pardons and Parole voted unanimously to pardon Robbie. I agree,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “She is a testament to the principle that our lives are not defined by how we are challenged. Rather they are defined by how we respond to those challenges. Robbie demonstrated internal fortitude to turn her life away from being a victim of human and sex trafficking and toward a life of redemption and improving her community. Her example is to be applauded and replicated. As Governor of Texas, I hereby grant Robbie Ann Hamilton a full pardon consistent with the recommendation issued by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.”