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The Brief: Will Texas address funding to protect kids from sex trafficking?

The issue of providing state funding to address child sex trafficking continues to be a major point of discussion in Texas.

People who care for sex-trafficking victims have a common refrain: It's not if they'll run away, but when.

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What you need to know

The issue of providing state funding to address child sex trafficking continues to be a major point of discussion in Texas. Asked about The Texas Tribune’s series on sex trafficking, Attorney General Ken Paxton said Thursday that more should be done to protect vulnerable children in Texas — but that it's not up to him to fund those efforts.

  • Last week, the Tribune reported that Texas leaders have publicly battled sex trafficking for more than a decade but have devoted few resources to it. The issue has created a pipeline from the state’s troubled child welfare system to sex trafficking.
  • Paxton acknowledged that few resources are available to actually help sex-trafficking victims. But he added: "I don't get to decide policy. What I do is, I enforce whatever the Legislature gives me authority to do.”
  • Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey notes that increasing funds to protect vulnerable children might be a tough sell to lawmakers in a tight budget cycle. "The difficulty, if the state’s history is any guide, is getting the money together, applying steady pressure to the problem and not simply treating it as a chronic condition that can be ignored between headline-grabbing flare-ups,” Ramsey wrote.

News from home

Help us report on sex trafficking in Texas: Over the past five months, The Texas Tribune has investigated the hidden world of sex trafficking. Now, we want to hear about your experiences.

What we're reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; paywall content noted with $) 

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For your calendar

Join us online for a conversation in Dallas about public education, immigration, health care, spending and taxes

Quote to note

"I don’t want to cut off all migrant workers. It’s just not going to work for agriculture. It’s part of our workforce, and Donald Trump uses the same workforce in his businesses. He has groundskeepers and landscapers and custodians and maids in his hotels and cooks and dishwashers — a lot of those are migrant workers.”

— Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller on his belief the current immigration system should be reworked to allow low-skilled labor to work in the U.S. legally

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Cassi Pollock. If you have feedback or questions, please email thebrief@texastribune.org. We're a nonprofit newsroom, and count on readers like you to help power newsletters like this. Did you like what you read today? Show your appreciation by becoming a member or making a donation today.

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