Press Release

Rep. Cuellar Secured $1 Million for Human Trafficking Research Program at TAMIU

Congressman Cuellar secured the federal funding in the FY23 Appropriations bill Project funding will support evidence-based curricula to enhance training for healthcare workers and educators likely to encounter human trafficking victims

Washington | Dana Youngentob, DC Press Secretary (202-340-9148), August 2, 2022
  • TAMIU 1

Laredo, TX—Today, U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) announced that he secured $1,000,000 for Texas A&M International University to conduct a human trafficking research and curriculum development program. Through this program, TAMIU will conduct research to produce an evidence-based curricula to enhance post-secondary degree programs for future educators and health care workers likely to encounter human trafficking victims during their careers in South Texas.       

Given that Laredo is a location where local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies converge to secure our border and protect our community, TAMIU is an ideal venue to analyze diverse issues and factors that contribute to international and domestic cases of human trafficking. The program will also have extensive coordination with ICE to research and analyze human trafficking in real time.

“A human trafficking research program at TAMIU is essential to support the current and future success of law enforcement, health care workers and trade here in Laredo,” said Congressman Cuellar, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. “That is why I was eager to secure a federal earmark for this program. Immigration and trade are the backbone of a thriving south Texas community, but that can sometimes come with unfortunate consequences. I hope that this program helps to reduce the amount of human trafficking that comes into the United States through our land ports of entry while tackling the consequences of the human trafficking industry. Thank you to my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee and Chair De Lauro for their support of this critical project.”

“Funding this effort to fight human trafficking has been a priority for Congressman Cuellar,” said John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “We are thankful for his enthusiastic support of our work to help train educators and healthcare workers, and eventually all first responders, to spot the signs of human trafficking.” 

 “Regrettably, human trafficking is a $150 billion industry and Laredo and various ports of entry across Congressional District 28 have seen the tragic consequences of this play out daily. This challenge begs data-driven investigation and research.  But this is what universities do, and TAMIU’s location, strong faculty research profile, long-lasting relationship with law enforcement agencies, and expertise in international commerce and trade provide us with a distinct advantage in conducting meaningful research which can help others.  We’re grateful to Congressman Cuellar and Chancellor Sharp for their keen support in driving this initiative forward,” said Dr. Pablo Arenaz, President of TAMIU.

Human trafficking is one of the most profitable and prevalent transnational crimes. According to the U.S. State Department, the United Nations, and the International Organization for Migration, the sale of human beings is believed to be a $150 billion industry, with a significant portion of those profits passing through legitimate financial businesses. In fact, human trafficking ranks third after the sale of drugs and arms as the most lucrative international and illegal global enterprise.

The evidence-based curricula at TAMIU will also allow students, under faculty supervision, to participate in collecting information/intelligence about human trafficking from multiple outlets and sources, such as ICE, which will subsequently inform future research and evidence-based practices.  

The $1 million will fund outreach to local law-enforcement and community health providers, support faculty-led data analysis, purchase necessary technology, and fund research-informed instructional design and curriculum materials.

A full list of Congressman Cuellar’s earmark requests for Texas-28 can be found here.