Not every criminal is mentally ill, and not every person who suffers from a mental health issue is a criminal. However, one woman I know had a mental illness and became a criminal in the eyes of the law. Would she have become a criminal if adequate mental health services existed? Probably not.
We need to demand transparency from our judges instead of accepting the grueling process of requesting their court records. And, most importantly, we need to turn up the turnout at the voting booths on March 6 and in the May runoffs. Otherwise, sexual assault victims will keep enduring rape kit procedures and police investigations only to hear in the end that their rapists have won.
According to Shared Hope International, Texas scored a 93.5 percent for its child sex trafficking law. However, despite being one of only eight states to receive an “A,” Texas also continues to be one of 27 states to criminalize a child for prostitution offenses. Even though the age of consent is 17, a child can still be penalized for having sex for money in Texas.
The social media frenzy following Hurricane Harvey helped thousands of people reach needed aid. Just as we have helped our neighbors rebuild their homes, we must help rebuild the lives that are too often forgotten in Houston’s sex trafficking industry.