For immediate release: Jan 10, 2012
Posted by: [Attorney General]
Contact: Erin Reece
Phone: 317.232.0168

January marks 'National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month'

AG Zoeller promotes anti-trafficking legislation and state, local prevention efforts

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The recent proclamation of "National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month" is helping bring the national spotlight to an issue Indiana is already focused on and taking action against, according to Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

"This year's Super Bowl in Indianapolis has brought the issue of human trafficking closer to home as these types of crimes have been associated with large events," Zoeller said. "Indiana's communities and nonprofit organizations, more than ever before, have been focused on dedicating their resources to combating these types of crimes and helping victims. The national attention to this growing problem can help aid our efforts to combat human trafficking."

Recently, President Barack Obama dubbed January "National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month." Human trafficking is tied as the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world, just behind drugs, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In his leadership role on the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) "Pillars of Hope" Presidential Initiative, Zoeller has been publicly supportive of efforts to combat trafficking. This year-long national effort started by NAAG president and Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna is built upon four action steps, including making the case, holding traffickers accountable, mobilizing communities to care for victims and raising public awareness and reducing demand.

McKenna plans to visit Indianapolis during Super Bowl weekend to meet with nonprofit groups, law enforcement and state officials to learn more about Indiana's human trafficking prevention efforts.

Zoeller is encouraging updates be made to Indiana law to make it easier to rescue human trafficking victims and prosecute traffickers, especially traffickers of children. This bill would also expand the class of individuals who commit the crime of selling or transferring a child for trafficking from "a parent, guardian or custodian" of a child to "an individual." The measure passed the Indiana Senate today by a 48-0 vote and now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Zoeller is also the co-chair of the Indiana Protection of Abused and Trafficked Humans (IPATH) task force. The task force has trained more than 1,500 persons since July 2011, including law enforcement, cab drivers, first responders, medical professionals and others so that they can identify human trafficking victims and know how to respond. 

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