Two U.S. states, at opposite ends of the nation, are taking steps this week to combat human trafficking. The effectiveness of their actions remains to be seen, of course, but these states should be praised for doing something about this problem.
In Alaska the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Anchorage Police Department are pooling resources. They announced this week the formation of the Innocence Lost Task Force. The task force will investigate and prosecute human traffickers. An emphasis will be placed on those who sexually exploit children.
In Florida legislation has been introduced to create a Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force. The investigative organization would take a look at human trafficking and develop a strategy to be implemented by Oct. 1, 2010. The bill (SB 168) is being considered on Wednesday of this week.
Florida is also voting on another bill (SB 502), which would make it a third degree felony to smuggle an illegal immigrant into the state. Supporters hope the bill will make it more difficult for traffickers to bring victims into Florida.
Slavery persists in the 21st Century. It affects every state in the United States and costs both our tax money and national security. Human trafficking’s many issues include sexual slavery, forced labor, organized crime, government corruption, organ trafficking and migrant smuggling.
The efforts of Alaska and Florida may be small, but serve as an example to other states in the union. Every state should be combating criminal behavior related to trafficking, educating law enforcement and citizens, preventing interstate crime and providing assistance to victims.
What is your state doing to solve the problem of human trafficking?
Photo courtesy of xandert http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/137921