Rob McKenna, Washington State Attorney General, began his tenure as president of National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) on June 22 with a pronouncement and a plan against human trafficking. The group held their annual meeting in Chicago and inducted McKenna as president. His speech included these remarks:
“Traffickers use modern slavery to victimize the voiceless – including millions of children – and don’t respect state, national or international borders. State attorneys general are in a unique position to rally public support for combating traffickers, while using our legal expertise to help protect the vulnerable. That’s what this initiative is about.”
McKenna has a vested interest in stopping the flow of trafficking. Seattle is one of the hubspots in the country for various forms of human slavery, especially child sex trafficking. Last year, during the FBI Cross Country prostitution sting, 23 of the 69 minors recovered nationwide were from the Seattle area, and the local vice squad averages 80 such rescues annually.
The Presidential Initiative from McKenna was presented following a panel discussion on the “Pillars of Hope: Attorneys General Unite against Human Trafficking”. Panelists included other states’ attorneys general, representatives from Department of Homeland Security and LexisNexis legal department, and a youth survivor/advocate.
See video of Rob McKenna’s speech.
Key points of McKenna’s Pillars of Hope
The need for action:
- Human trafficking is a $32 billion global industry, the fastest growing and second largest criminal activity in the world, tied with arms and after drug dealing.
- Trafficking in Persons Report estimated 12.3 million adults and children are trafficked across international borders into forced labor and sexual exploitation.
- Between 100,000 and 300,000 children are at risk for sexual exploitation in the US with an average age of 11 to 14 years old.
- 76 percent of transactions for sex with underage girls start on the Internet.
This last point has already catalyzed action from NAAG against online classified ad venues such as Craig’s List (which had the adult services section shut down last fall) and Backpage.com.
McKenna’s Four Pillars in the fight against human trafficking
Pillar #1: Making the Case
Uniform database systems for state tracking of human trafficking cases need to be created in conjunction with National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) to help local authorities identify cases and report them through a uniform means. (summarized)
- Prepare an analytically sound assessment of the problem of modern slavery in the U.S. including labor and sex trafficking, and victims both foreign and domestic.
- Analyze existing state laws and model criminal and civil statutes, as well as tools for evaluating the effectiveness of prevention strategies, law enforcement and victim services at the state level.
Pillar # 2: Holding Traffickers Accountable
Not all States have adopted a comprehensive menu of anti-human trafficking laws that provide all the tools necessary to local law enforcement to prosecute traffickers. Furthermore, only 20 states are actually using the laws that exist.
- Implement effective criminal justice strategies to identify individuals and organizations engaged in the trafficking of human beings for profit
- Support the launch of the new FBI business and training plan to include human trafficking as a part of the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program and the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS).
- Encourage state program managers responsible for criminal justice statistics to participate in the FBI’s UCR and NIBRS effort to map and code trafficking offenses, and collect data regarding trafficking incidents for entry to state reporting repositories.
- Ensure full implementation and compliance of Anti-Human Trafficking Statutes, and drive trafficking prosecutions in all 50 states.
Pillar #3: Mobilizing Communities to Care for Victims
Coordination among service providers and law enforcement has increased the number of victims identified. Good models exist that can be disseminated and implemented in states throughout the country, while respecting existing local efforts through DOJ-funded task forces. However, resources are severely lacking. While NAAG is not in the business of service delivery, information regarding available services could be provided, so that individual attorneys general may take advantage of these resources as a part of their state-level strategies.
- Promote the use of restitution provisions of existing human trafficking codes to create resources for long-term care.
- Identify service provider networks or “portals” in every state, to ensure that all identified victims of human trafficking have access to food, shelter, culturally appropriate services and legal advocacy.
- Create an inventory of grass-roots advocacy organizations that are available to assist with community awareness strategies at the state and local levels, and in establishing partnerships between service providers, victim advocates and law enforcement. A special emphasis should be placed on developing protocols between law enforcement service providers and advocates, to ensure that victims have access to shelter, food, counseling and legal advocacy, regardless of gender, age, nationality or citizenship status.
Pillar #4: Public Awareness and Issue Advocacy
Although numerous public awareness campaigns exist, few use proven metrics that demonstrate a campaign’s effectiveness.
- Reduce demand for trafficking victims through public awareness campaigns, and promote community awareness to identify victims
This initiative forms a strong bridge for states to step up their efforts to battle the human trafficking system which is destroying a significant number of lives in our nation and around the globe. It is a year-long commitment of the NAAG President McKenna and will culminate in the organization’s Presidential Summit in Seattle in March 2012.
 Word document in personal from Dan Sytman, Media relations, Washington Attorney General’s Office
Read more sex trafficking articles
- Seattle woman charged with child sex slavery: Backpage.com is source (again)
- Georgia: Sex slavery hub targets stiffer laws for pimps, says attorney general
- New Tenn law: Higher penalties for sex trafficking, immunity for child victims
- Ft Lauderdale is hot spot for arrests, conviction of sex trafficking of minors
- Sex crimes against pre-K child gets TX man charged with super-aggravated assault
- Mass. lags behind nation in making human trafficking a crime
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