DALLAS — Mayor Eric Johnson announced Thursday that he will expand the mission of the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Advisory Council to include human trafficking.
Accordingly, the Advisory Council will be renamed the Mayor’s Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Advisory Council. The expansion coincides with National Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Mayor Johnson said the city must put a high priority on addressing human trafficking — like domestic violence, it is predominantly, though not exclusively, a crime perpetrated against women — and elevate it to the level of a mayoral priority.
“Human trafficking preys on the vulnerable. It is fed by people’s worst impulses and ugliest intentions. It’s evil. And like other evil acts, it hides in the shadows, often obscured by the messy realities of people’s lives,” Mayor Johnson said. “By expanding the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Advisory Council, we can work together to help survivors and make our city safer for all of our residents.”
In addition, to support the Advisory Council’s expansion, Mayor Johnson has named City Councilmember Gay Willis, a member of the Public Safety Committee, as the City Council liaison to the Advisory Council. Former City Councilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates, who previously served as chair of the Public Safety Committee, chairs the Advisory Council.
“This is a natural extension of the important and ongoing work of the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Advisory Council,” said Gates. “I am thrilled that Mayor Johnson is taking this issue seriously, and I look forward to working with Councilmember Willis, our police department, our criminal justice system, and our community advocates to help fight this destructive crime.”
“Human trafficking is a crime that is difficult to address and difficult to track statistically. But it’s a crime that has a devastating impact on our communities, and we must work to stop traffickers and assist victims,” Willis said. “I am grateful to Mayor Johnson for appointing me to serve on this Advisory Council. It is time for us to come together to step up our work on this important public safety issue.”
Mayor Johnson made the announcements Thursday at a check presentation ceremony hosted by the North Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking. The mayor helped present the coalition with an $83,000 check from the Fraternal Order of Eagles.
Mayor Johnson formed the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Advisory Council in June 2020 to carry on the work of the city’s Domestic Violence Task Force and to elevate the continuation of its efforts as a mayoral priority.
The advisory council is one of three formed by Mayor Johnson. The other two are the Mayor’s Anti-Hate Advisory Council and the Mayor’s International Advisory Council. Unlike mayoral task forces — which provide a set of concrete recommendations on an issue and are then disbanded — mayoral advisory councils are standing committees consisting of private citizens who provide ongoing advice and guidance to the mayor on policies and procedures.