REP. THIMESCH FILES LEGISLATION TO FIGHT HUMAN TRAFFICKING
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 15, 2023
Contact: Ruth Mesta
State Representative Kronda Thimesch Files Legislation to Empower
Texas Cities to Fight Human Trafficking
HB 2134 Would Allow Increased Local Restrictions on Massage Parlors
(Austin, TX) – State Representative Kronda Thimesch has filed House Bill 2134, which would allow a political subdivision to implement certain restrictions for massage establishments. Aimed at combatting human trafficking in Texas, the bill amends the state Occupations Code to provide more flexibility to cities and local law enforcement in their efforts to curtail and discourage criminal enterprise.
"Human trafficking is among the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world," relayed Rep. Thimesch. "Texas consistently ranks second in the nation for the number of reported human trafficking cases, and illicit massage businesses are frequently a front for this horrific crime. The prostitution of minors, money laundering -- these are all a blight on our state, often hiding in plain sight. This bill will give cities more tools to keep Texans safe."
Current statute allows municipalities and counties to adopt regulations regarding sexually oriented businesses as they deem necessary to promote the public health, safety, or welfare of their communities. House Bill 2134 would expand current statute to allow such local entities to regulate more than just zoning and other existing local regulations, while still maintaining that these regulations are not more restrictive than those imposed on other health care professionals or establishments. The bill would allow a political subdivision to implement regulations that would restrict hours of operation for massage establishments. Additionally, the bill permits a political subdivision to impose restrictions on a massage establishment if the owner, or if a service provider within, has been arrested or convicted for certain prostitution or human trafficking-related offenses; for money laundering; or for engaging in organized criminal activity as defined by the Penal Code.
Reduction of human trafficking is one of Rep. Thimesch's legislative priorities. The “Texas Triangle”-- which links the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, San Antonio and Houston via major highways -- is believed to have the highest concentration of human trafficking in our state.
Kronda Thimesch represents House District 65, which encompasses 20 communities in Denton County and stretches from its eastern to western border. Denton County is one of the 19 counties within the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.