Texas cosmetology businesses take stand against human trafficking
According to a study by the University of Texas, there are more than 30,000 victims of human tracking throughout the state.
Now, cosmetologists are finding a new way to help decrease those numbers.
A law recently passed by the 85th Texas legislature requires all cosmetology businesses to hang up a sign with information on what to do if they or someone they know is being trafficked.
"Human trafficking is modern day slavery," said Susan Stanford, a spokeswoman for The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations. "These signs will push them to make a phone call or reach out to help. In the past, they've been leery about reaching out because they don't trust law enforcement."
Edna Posada owns three La Posada Spa and Salons in the Rio Grande Valley. Posada says a client of hers became concerned after learning about an underage girl working at a different Valley salon.
"She was seated next to another lady and the lady that was doing her pedicure started telling the lady seated next to her, 'You can get the pedicure with her,'" Posada said. "It was a 10-year-old little girl and she was really bothered by the situation, but she didn't know what to do so that's when we really became aware that the problem hits very close to home here in the Rio Grande Valley."
But now, thanks to these mandatory signs, salon employees and customers alike will be prepared for those situations.
Inspectors with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations will be coming to salons in the Valley to make sure the sign is displayed. If businesses do not have the sign up, the inspectors will provide them with one.
If the sign is not up on the second inspection, however, businesses will have to pay a $100 fine. If the salon does not have the sign up after that, the fine could go up to $500.
Posada says she's excited that she and many other cosmetology businesses are teaming up in this statewide effort to combat human trafficking.
"There are other woman from other countries, because they bring them here, women, children, some men even, and they don't speak the language or even know what country they're in," said Posada. "So, if we can help, one person, one woman, one child-- it makes you feel very empowered."
To download the sign, click here.