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2017-11-30

Meg Scott-Johnson to speak about Human Trafficking

Contributed

Marguerite “Meg” Scott-Johnson is secretary of the State Board of the League of Women Voters in Texas. She is also the chairperson of Human Trafficking Issue advocacy at the 85th Texas Legislature.



Human trafficking is not a typical Christmas season topic, because there is no “nice time” to talk about this horrific, contemporary reality. But human trafficking is a growing problem that concerns the welfare of women and children in the Texas Hill Country, and as such, the Hill Country Chapter of Texas Democratic Women (TDW) welcomes an expert to speak on the subject at the December luncheon meeting. Marguerite “Meg” Scott-Johnson of the League of Women Voters will highlight success in lobbying the 85th Texas Legislature to prevent human trafficking.
Scott-Johnson, a Kerrville community leader, is secretary of the Texas Board of the League of Women Voters and is chairperson of the League’s Human Trafficking Issue lobby for legislation in Texas. She is also responsible for research and reporting on the League’s efforts to educate the legislature and general public about human trafficking.
The League of Women Voters considers human trafficking to be a modern form of both sex slavery and forced labor slavery. Texas is second in the United States in the num-ber of incidents of human trafficking. Houston shares the spotlight with Atlanta for the highest number of reported cases of child sex trafficking.
Much of the emphasis in preventing human trafficking is on reducing sexual exploitation of children. In 2016, The University of Texas reported that about 79,000 Texas children were victims of sex trafficking. The majority of teenagers who are sex trafficked victims come from U.S. homes, and not brought across the border with Mexico.
Traffickers troll shopping malls for teenagers, luring them with promises of expensive clothes, hair do’s and makeup. Scott-Johnson’s presentation will include recent re-search on how to identify those being trafficked and how to help stop human trafficking.
Earlier this year the League of Women Voters successfully lobbied the Texas Legisla-ture to pass three bills aimed at curbing child sex trafficking. One bill requires truck driv-ers to be trained to identify victims of human trafficking.
Another bill provides for instruc-tion and training in public schools on prevention of sexual abuse and sex trafficking.
The third bill strengthens the Texas Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force. All three bills passed with both houses unanimously. The League will now lobby the legislature to engage cosmetologists to spot victims and to require convicted sex traffickers to be registered as sex offenders.
Scott-Johnson is a former president of the LWV—Hill Country, known for her commit-ment to the nonpartisan efforts of the League of Women Voters to improve government and engage informed and active participation of voters in elections. She represents the Presbyterian Church in the Interfaith Welcome Coalition, working in San Antonio to as-sist refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. She is a licensed clinical social worker in pri-vate practice in Kerrville and a Master Gardener.
The TDW will meet at 11:15 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, 201 Holdsworth Drive in Kerrville. Following a long-standing tradition of assisting families during the holidays, Hill Country TDW members will bring diapers and women’s undergarments to supply the needs of women and children served by the Hill Country Crisis Council.
The Hill Country Crisis Council provides housing and counseling for women and children who are victims of domestic violence in Kerr, Kim-ble, Kendall, Gillespie and Bandera counties.
Membership forms for 2018 will be available for new and renewing members to com-plete at the December meeting. Membership in the Texas Democratic Women starts at $20 per year and includes the state and local organizations.
Reservations for the luncheon should be made with Linda Stegall at 830-285-7414 or by email to lindastegall@hotmail.com no later than Thursday,
Nov. 30, 2017. The cost of the buffet lunch is $15 per person.