human rights

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin’s Human Rights Commission could take action tonight on recommending a “preservation of life” standard in the Austin Police Department’s Response to Resistance Policy.

The ACLU has been pushing for the police department to include language in their policy that would basically say deadly force should be used as a last resort.

Human Rights Commissioner Elizabeth Brenner says the commission talked about adding the language back in 2010 but that the issue is front and center again because of recent, deadly officer-involved shootings.

KUT News

“Understand that human trafficking is very, very profitable. You can sell drugs or a gun only once. You can sell a human 12 times in one day.”

Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and those words from Texas State Senator Leticia Van De Putte underscore the gravity of the problem. Van De Putte co-hosted a summit on Human Trafficking this morning, focused on how health providers can identify and assist victims. The affected can include anyone from young runaways coerced into sex work and prostitution, to American immigrants promised work but essentially bound into slavery.

Van De Putte spoke to KUT News, addressing the role health providers can play and dispelling some common assumptions about what trafficking actually is and who it affects.

Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

Human Rights agencies from across North America are in Austin this week. The International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies conference is focusing on workplace discrimination. John Schmelzer of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission spoke this morning. He says that the EEOC has more cases than ever, but the types of cases have changed over time.