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[ATG] Zoeller, 45 other attorneys general call on Congress to re-up critical human trafficking law
Start Date: 11/8/2012 All Day
End Date: 11/8/2012
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, joined by 45 other attorneys general, called on Congress to reauthorize a law that helps protect human trafficking victims and prosecute traffickers.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which funds efforts to combat modern-day slavery, expired in October of 2011 and legislators have until the end of the year to reauthorize it. As co-chairs of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Standing Committee on Human Trafficking, Zoeller and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley took the lead on garnering support among other attorneys general for the reauthorization of the act. As a result, a letter to Congress was recently sent through NAAG and offered specific funding recommendations for programs within the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“This law is beneficial and critical to human trafficking victim services, law enforcement and the advocates who are fighting to stop this horrific crime,” Zoeller said. “With help from congressional leaders, we believe it is time to adequately increase the resources available to victims, victim service organizations and the appropriate government agencies.”

Zoeller said human trafficking victims often experience severe trauma that requires intensive therapy and rehabilitation. In addition, human trafficking and slavery criminal cases are often complicated and involve lengthy legal proceedings requiring additional resources for prosecutors and investigators. Many of these victims require comprehensive case management provided by victim service organizations to see them through their recovery and help them navigate the legal system.

In December of 2008, Congress reauthorized the TVPA which extended and modified certain programs that form the core of the U.S. Department of Justice’s efforts to prevent and prosecute human trafficking and protect the victims of trafficking and slavery. Funded programs include taskforces across the country to protect victims and prosecute traffickers and the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline.

Zoeller said NAAG launched the “Pillars of Hope” national initiative to shed light on human trafficking crimes, hold traffickers accountable, mobilize communities to care for victims and reduce the demand for commercial sex which fuels human trafficking. Zoeller said the TVPA reauthorization was a priority of NAAG Standing Committee on Human Trafficking.

As part of the “Pillars of Hope,” Zoeller was tasked with developing ways to curb the demand for commercial sex and spread awareness about the crime’s impact. This year, Zoeller helped create a public pledge to promote zero tolerance for the sex industry in Indiana and launched the “Don’t Buy the Lie” campaign that aims to inform the public that purchasing sex is not a victimless crime and it fuels human trafficking. Zoeller successfully pushed for state legislative changes which are now in effect making it easier to prosecute traffickers and rescue victims.

Zoeller also serves as the co-chair of the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans (IPATH) task force. The task force has trained more than 3,400 persons since July 2011, including law enforcement, cab drivers, first responders, medical professionals, hospitality workers and others so that they can identify human trafficking victims and know how to respond. IPATH includes representatives from 60 Indiana groups including government entities, nonprofits and faith-based organizations.


Contact Information:
Name: Erin Reece
Phone: 317.232.0168
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Government
  • Agency Name
    Attorney General

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