An unlikely pair of Texans has teamed up for a worthy cause, as Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey has joined Attorney General Ken Paxton’s campaign against human trafficking. In a video released on August 28, the actor best known for his blockbuster roles and the conservative law enforcer known for his own legal troubles came together to ask Texans to take proactive measures in identifying and preventing human trafficking.
In January, the Attorney General’s office, which deals with a number of human trafficking cases in the state, launched “Be The One,” a campaign designed to encourage Texans to help victims by recognizing signs of suspicious activity and filing a report with local police and the National Human Trafficking Hotline. The campaign’s website offers information about different types of human trafficking, how to identify red flags, resources for reporting, and a nearly hour-long video sharing victims’ stories.
“Right now in Texas, there are more than 300,000 human trafficking victims and 79,000 minors and youth victims of sex trafficking,” Paxton says in the campaign’s new PSA, which co-stars McConaughey. According to information from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Texas had 792 reported human trafficking cases in 2017. These cases are well-reported and documented, as are the complexities of finding meaningful solutions in the state’s welfare and criminal justice system. But suggestions about how to combat sex trafficking in Texas, like increased funding for victims services, better criminal justice laws to protect victims of sex trafficking, and a cohesive statewide approach to addressing trafficking, have not prompted significant political action.
As McConaughey states in the video, the “Be The One” campaign emphasizes raising public awareness in an effort to “put all the eyes of Texas on the fight against human trafficking.” Perhaps the unlikely pair will encourage individual Texans to take action—and encourage statewide leaders to do the same.