AUSTIN – First Lady Cecilia Abbott today relaunched the statewide “Can You See Me?” human trafficking awareness campaign at the Governor’s Mansion in Austin. The multimedia campaign seeks to highlight the realities of human trafficking through a series of billboards displayed in public spaces and transportation hubs across more than 70 Texas cities throughout this year.
The First Lady was joined at the relaunch by Secretary of State Jane Nelson, Senator Joan Huffman, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, Outdoor Advertising Association (OAAT) President Lee Vela, A21 Chief Advancement Officer Bill Clark, and other state and local anti-human trafficking leaders.
“Texas is a national leader in the fight against human trafficking, and the relaunch of this successful campaign will help us continue to raise awareness and call people to action against this heinous crime,” said First Lady Abbott. “I am grateful for the continued collaboration with A21 and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Texas as we work together to put an end to human trafficking.”
“Although January is known as Human Trafficking Awareness Month, we need to be spreading awareness all year round,” said Secretary Nelson. “This issue is sadly so pervasive that we need constant vigilance, enhanced awareness, and comprehensive education to help all Texans identify human trafficking and eradicate it wherever we see it. If you’re listening to us today, you can be the one to change a life, or save a life, from the slavery that is human trafficking. You just have to know what to look for.”
“In the base budget that I filed, the Texas Senate is committing $57.5 million to prevent and combat human trafficking,” said Senator Huffman. “Providing financial resources across the state is critical to ending this form of modern-day slavery, but resources alone won’t help us win the fight. We must continue to raise awareness, and the ‘Can You See Me?’ campaign will do just that.”
“It is the tips and the reports that come into the hotlines and to law enforcement across the state that are the key to saving lives and putting a stop to human traffickers,” said Director McCraw. “This campaign will no doubt help empower people to speak up and take action to make Texas a safer place for all of us.”
“The Outdoor Advertising Association of Texas is committed to helping eradicate human trafficking in Texas,” said OAAT President Vela. “These donated billboard messages will broadcast the hotline number, which is a way for victims to get help so that they can become survivors. The messages will be seen on hundreds of digital and traditional billboards in more than 70 Texas cities for the entire year.”
“Texas continues to be a leader in the fight against human trafficking,” said A21 Chief Advancement Officer Clark. “Through our local work with survivors, we know that awareness is a vital part of ending human trafficking. We are grateful to our partners, First Lady Cecilia Abbott and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Texas, and know that their generosity and support for the ‘Can You See Me?’ campaign will impact millions.”
Created by A21 and OAAT, the “Can You See Me?” campaign will help raise awareness among Texas commuters to the indicators of human trafficking through a series of scenarios depicting the most common forms of modern-day slavery, with dedicated hotline numbers to report suspicious behavior. More than 300 billboards across the state will carry the message either on traditional billboards or digital units and urge members of the public who suspect human trafficking activity to call the Polaris National Human Trafficking Hotline and National Center of Missing and Exploited Children.
The 2019-2022 “Can You See Me?” campaign resulted in an over 30 percent increase in calls across Texas to the National Trafficking Hotline and earned the Human Trafficking Impact of the Year in Transportation Award in 2020 from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Anyone who suspects human trafficking activity is urged to call the Polaris National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.