AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Governor Greg Abbott has pardoned a human trafficking survivor.
Governor Abbott’s Office said Robbie Ann Hamilton was lured into sex and human trafficking when she was around 15 years old.
“From there, her life took a downward spiral that included some petty crimes—none of which involved harming or endangering the life or safety of another person,” the statement said.
Since 1984, Hamilton had been sentenced in various cases in Collin, Dallas and Wise Counties.
The charges ranged from petty theft to drug possession.
READ FULL PARDON PROCLAMATION HERE:
Governor Abbott explained the pardon was not just about Hamilton, but also sends a message to all victims of human trafficking that there is a “path to redemption.”
“One of the surest signals of our commitment to helping victims of human trafficking is to show there is a true path to redemption for those victims. A way to demonstrate that is a gubernatorial pardon, for those who have truly escaped trafficking, for the crimes they may have committed while under the grips of traffickers,” the Governor said in a statement.
The Governor said while in jail, Hamilton, now 57, had a “come to Jesus” moment.
“She begged God to help her quit drugs and the sex industry. She was baptized in jail and spent rehab getting to know the Bible and Jesus. She participated with groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and New Friends New Life, a human and sex trafficking victim relief organization. She reoriented her life toward helping homeless addicts in street ministries and doing other rehabilitation efforts.”
Eight letters were submitted to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles in support of a full pardon.
No person or law enforcement agency submitted any letter in opposition to a pardon for Hamilton.
“The Texas Board of Pardons and Parole voted unanimously to pardon Robbie. I agree,” said Governor Abbott. “She is a testament to the principle that our lives are not defined by how we are challenged. Rather they are defined by how we respond to those challenges. Robbie demonstrated internal fortitude to turn her life away from being a victim of human and sex trafficking and toward a life of redemption and improving her community. Her example is to be applauded and replicated. As Governor of Texas, I hereby grant Robbie Ann Hamilton a full pardon consistent with the recommendation issued by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.”