Fort Bend County Human Trafficking Summit
February 21, 2014
Fort Bend County Justice Center
Participant Feedback Summary (N=160)
The Fort Bend County Task Force for Prostitution Prevention hosted a Summit on the issue of Human Trafficking on Friday, February 21, 2014. The event was held to raise awareness of the presence of human trafficking, especially sex trafficking activity in the Fort Bend area as well as the broader community. There were a total number of 279 participants that signed in for the Human Trafficking Summit, of which 160 participated in the survey that was offered. According to 97% of the participants, the overall quality of the meeting was excellent, with 98% of the participants walking away with new ideas, knowledge and information regarding the growing issue of human trafficking and the issues that are being presented on a daily basis. Most felt that the summit was well organized, very informative and comprehensive. With regard to Holly Austin Smith’s, Survivor and Author, presentation, it was stated that she was a “driving example of (someone) overcoming in order to educate others, and help prevent and end this cancer,” with 99% feeling that she left them with a strong background knowledge of human trafficking, 94% knowing the importance of early intervention, and 90% learning knowledge of protection of survivors.
Freedom Place presented by Emily Waters helped increase the knowledge of child sex trafficking, with 97% of the participants learning about the services Freedom Place has to offer. It was also stated that Lindsey Speed of Traffick911 would be a great resource for future law enforcement training. Associate Judge Angela Ellis, of the 315th Juvenile District Court, Harris County, rounded up the summit sharing about the GIRLS Court Program. (The program was organized by American Bar Association entities, Commission on Youth at Risk, Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, and Center on Children and the Law, as well as Children at Risk in Houston.) Participants felt that the GIRLS court program was an “important component in fighting for and helping and rescuing victims of trafficking” with 93% walking away educated on the program and its challenges and successes.
It was strongly recommended by 91%, that additional summits be planned for future dates, with more media broadcasting in order to get the word spread of the importance of human trafficking issues that Fort Bend County is facing.
In summary, many felt that the summit addressed the “root causes needed to be addressed,” “definitions of human trafficking and Traffick911 statistical information,” and “identification of possible human victims.” The participants represented a diverse group, with 35% being law enforcement, 14% family/parent based, 10% probation and 6% being in the judicial court system. This was a significant step for Fort Bend County in educating the community on human trafficking and how to work together to stop it and provide resources for victims.
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