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3 Texans receive award for efforts made in preventing human trafficking

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Attorney General of Texas Greg Abbott:

DALLAS (KYTX) – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, former first lady Laura Bush and Dallas Police Chief David Brown were recognized Friday by New Friends New Life for their efforts to combat human trafficking.

During its 10th annual Wings luncheon in Dallas, New Friends New Life presented its statewide Protect-Her Award to Attorney General Abbott for his efforts to fight sex trafficking in Texas. As the chairman of the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force, Attorney General Abbott has worked closely with legislators, law enforcement authorities and nonprofit organizations to combat human trafficking across the State.

"Human trafficking is a horrific crime that is devastating to its victims and subjects them to modern day slavery," Attorney General Abbott said. "The Protect-Her Award is a testament to the work the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force and the Texas Legislature have done to ensure Texas is hostile territory for human traffickers. Together, we have worked to increase penalties for traffickers, enhance coordination within the law enforcement community and improve victims' access to vitally important services."

Recognizing that national, state and local collaboration is crucial to dismantling human trafficking networks, New Friends New Life presented former first lady Bush its national Protect-Her Award for her human trafficking prevention work across the United States. The organization presented Dallas Police Chief Brown with its local Protect-Her Award for spearheading human trafficking prevention efforts in North Texas communities.

A faith-based nonprofit organization established in 1998, New Friends New Life helps trafficked teen girls and sexually exploited women and their children by providing access to education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental health and spiritual support. In 2012, New Friends New Life served approximately 657 teens, women and their children. For more information about the organization, visit www.newfriendsnewlife.org.

In 2009, the State of Texas took major steps to fight human trafficking by creating the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force. On Feb. 12, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and Rep. Senfronia Thompson introduced new legislation that combined all of the recommendations presented in the Task Force's 2012 report, which is accessible on the Office of the Attorney General's website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.

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