Fifteen years of leadership.
The CTCAHT has convened hundreds of partners together to combat human trafficking and care for survivors since 2003.
The Central Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking (CTCAHT) formed in 2003 after Austin law enforcement agencies worked their first human trafficking case. While working the case, law enforcement observed a breakdown in collaboration between law enforcement agencies and nonprofit organizations providing social services that would benefit victims. Therefore, the CTCAHT formed to ensure emergency services were available upon rescue and address the overt lack of a collaborative response to human trafficking in Central Texas.
In 2003/2004, the Austin law enforcement agencies observed trafficking predominantly among the immigrant or foreign national populations. Due to the prevalence of immigrant/foreign national victims, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (THHSC), Office of Immigration and Refugee Affairs (OIRA), played an integral role in actively identifying and engaging social service providers with the Central Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking. OIRA served as the coordinator for the CTCAHT’s first year. OIRA dedicated their coordination activities to bringing local and statewide refugee, victim, and social providers together with law enforcement to improve victims’ service delivery experience and community reintegration efforts.
In October 2004, the CTCAHT received Department of Justice (DOJ)/Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) funding to staff a CTCAHT chairperson and case manager based out of Refugee Services of Texas of Austin. Refugee Services of Texas (RST), a non-profit organization guided by the principles of human compassion and dignity, welcomes refugees, immigrants, and other displaced people and supports them in integrating and thriving in their new communities. RST demonstrated the capacity to provide emergency services to recently identified foreign national victims due to the agency's expertise resettling persecuted and traumatized refugee populations. The DOJ/OVE funding provided critical funding to designate a single point of contact for both law enforcement and social service providers identifying and serving victims. OVC provided the foundation for a collaborated response between law enforcement and victim service agencies.
CTCAHT and member organizations have provided training to over 25,000 individuals across Central Texas and served hundreds of trafficking survivors. Coalition members also organized five conferences educating attendees from across the state and nation. Due to the CTCAHT collaborative impact, the Coalition has received thousands of requests from community members desiring to assist survivors directly or actively engage in the anti- trafficking movement.
In response to the community’s desire for increased opportunities for activism, in 2010, the CTCAHT joined together with community members to form Allies Against Slavery (Allies), a non-profit organization dedicated to developing community networks that build slave-free cities. The CTCAHT adopted Allies’ Slave-Free City model in November 2015 as a vehicle for continued interagency response to trafficking and eradication of slavery in Central Texas.
Today the CTCAHT seeks to build a Steering Committee to lead our strategic efforts to eradicate slavery. The CTCAHT Steering Committee will safeguard the CTCAHT commitment to continue collaborative response in Central Texas as well as build infrastructure that can sustain broader state and national advocacy, education, and prevention.