I’m very pleased to report that the 2012 National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Presidential Summit held in Seattle last month was a huge success! The Summit was crafted around my 2012 NAAG Presidential Initiative: "Pillars of Hope: Attorneys General Unite Against Human Trafficking".
Nearly 300 attendees participated in this groundbreaking event, representing local, state and federal agencies, as well as non-profit organizations, leading businesses and communities here in Washington and from throughout the country.
I am humbled and honored by the efforts of everyone involved, especially my fellow Attorneys General who have embraced the “Pillars of Hope” and have been doing tremendous work in their home states to advance this initiative.
Pillars of Hope in Action
Working together, we have made significant progress over the past year in raising awareness of the problem, and charting a new course for our nation to strengthen its efforts to end human trafficking. Today, the Pillars of Hope are being employed in every corner of the country, as these examples illustrate:
- Florida - Attorney General Pam Bondi worked for the passage of new legislation to make Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking.
- Mississippi – Attorney General Jim Hood has been working to raise public awareness throughout his state and plans to strengthen laws that deal with human trafficking crimes.
- New Mexico - Attorney General Gary King’s office was recently featured on America’s Most Wanted for the prosecution of local human trafficking cases.
- Wisconsin - Thanks to the work of Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, new legislation has been passed in Wisconsin and the Department of Justice has just published a Human Trafficking guide for Criminal Justice Professionals.
- Indiana – Attorney General Greg Zoeller has been doing a fabulous job in his state, particularly his recent work centered on the Super Bowl and the innovative Don’t Buy the Lie campaign. He also led the successful effort to enact Indiana's first anti-human trafficking statute.
- Massachusetts - Attorney General Martha Coakley was recently honored by Shared Hope International for her great work in passing a tough new statute, under which four individuals have already been charged for human trafficking in Boston.
These are just a few examples and many other efforts are also underway. I’m tremendously proud of all of the work being done by Attorneys General and their offices across the country.
Most importantly, while my term as NAAG President ends this summer, Attorney General Coakley and I recently announced that NAAG will continue the work that we have started through the Pillars of Hope, through formation of a standing committee that she will co-chair.
Human trafficking in the news
Thankfully, along with the Summit and passage of our own state's new law regarding age requirements for commercial advertising, the media continues to shine a light on the tragedy of human trafficking. The Financial Times of London recently published an article about a Goldman Sachs fund that is writing off its investment and selling its 16 percent stake in Village Voice Media (the owners of Backpage.com). The article mentions the current Attorneys' General campaign against Backpage.com's Adult Services section and our previous successful campaign aimed at ending adult services ads on Craigslist.
And you may have seen the Seattle Times editorial, "Step up fight against sex trafficking", thanking the Washington Legislature for making it a felony to knowingly sell or publish ads for commercial sex featuring a minor. Village Voice Media has said they will likely challenge the law. Of course, the Attorney General’s Office defends all state laws and this is no exception. Neither is it unexpected, so we worked closely with lawmakers to ensure the law would stand up against a legal test.
2012 Presidential Summit Take 2 – watch re-runs here!
Because the presentations and discussions during the Summit were so informative, I’m making them as widely available as possible so that anyone who is interested in this issue can benefit from the wealth of perspectives and expertise, learn more about the issue and see first hand how all of the efforts over the past year have come to life.
Below is a snapshot of Summit events, an in-depth look at the Pillars of Hope Initiative, along with many links to speakers, panel experts and much more. I hope you will take a moment to check out these news stories, peruse the Summit meeting materials, watch a speaker video or listen to a panel discussion.
Hopefully, you will discover some new ways, whether large and small, to help in the fight against human trafficking and consider looking into opportunities in your own community to become involved.
Meanwhile, I hope you and yours are having a great spring.
Human Trafficking: North American Perspective
This panel, moderated by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, discussed comparative federal approaches to human trafficking in North America, including prevention, prosecution and victim services.
- Angelica Herrera Rivero, Director, Special Prosecutions Unit for Crimes of Violence Against Women & Human Trafficking, Office of the Attorney General of Mexico
- John Miller, Former U.S. Ambassador At Large on Modern Day Slavery
- Todd Shean, Assistant Commissioner, Federal and International Operations, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Watch now: John Miller, former US Ambassador at Large on Modern Day Slavery
Rescuing Victims: Human Trafficking and Major Sporting Events - Lessons Learned from This Year’s Super Bowl
Large sporting events are often magnets for commercial sex trafficking. In Indianapolis this year, NGOs and law enforcement worked together to suppress trafficking, and to identify and extract victims leading up to and during Super Bowl weekend.
Moderator: Greg Zoeller, Indiana Attorney General
- Abigail Kuzma, Director and Chief Counsel, Consumer Protection Division, Office of the Attorney General of Indiana
- Nita Belles, Regional Director/OATH, Central Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans
- Jon A. Daggy, Sergeant, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Vice Unit / Criminal Investigations / Human Trafficking
- Michael Bartel, Founder/Director, F.R.E.E. International
- Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State and Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, U.S. Department of State
Watch now: Ambassador Luis CdeBaca
Making The Case: Research as a Tool to Define the Problem and Measure Progress
Published research that has been subject to peer review can be a valuable tool not only in measuring the problem of human trafficking, but also in verifying which tactics are successful in changing the behavior of both traffickers and “johns”.
Moderator: John T. Picarelli, PhD, Program Manager for Transnational Issues, National Institute of Justice
- Michael Shively, PhD, Senior Associate, Abt Associates
- Meredith Dank, PhD, Research Associate, The Urban Institute Justice Policy Center
- Vanessa Bouché, PhD, Director of Policy, National Research Consortium on Commercial Sexual Exploitation
Public Response: Corporations Taking the Lead in Fighting Human Trafficking
This panel addressed the corporate response to labor trafficking, including compliance with the California Transparency Supply Chain Act, industry specific versus market-wide codes of conduct, personnel policies and corporate philanthropy.
Moderator: Christopher Johnson, Jr., Associate Professor and Director, Graduate Program in Corporate Law and Finance, Thomas M. Cooley Law School and former General Counsel, General Motors North America
- Shawn MacDonald, PhD, Director of Programs and Research, Verite
- Stephanie Richard, Policy & Legal Services Director, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST)
- Steve Lippman, Director, Environmental Sustainability, Microsoft Corporation
Prosecuting Traffickers: Best Practices
The successful “triage” of trafficking cases requires coordination between federal and state law enforcement and prosecutors, an understanding of the charging tools available, and training in successful trial advocacy strategies.
Moderator: Lenny Rapadas, Guam Attorney General
- Sean O’Donnell, Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor & NAGTRI Trainer
- John Richmond, Special Litigation Counsel, Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, U.S. Department of Justice
- John Blakey, Chief, Special Prosecutions Bureau, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office & NAGTRI Trainer
- Ye-Ting Woo, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Terrorism and Violent Crimes Unit, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington
Holding Traffickers Accountable: What NGOs Want Law Enforcement to Know
This session focused on comparative best practices for training law enforcement in how to identify trafficking incidents, and ensure a victim- centered response.
Moderator: Honorable Alice Chamberlayne Hill, Senior Counselor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- Linda Smith, Founder & President, Shared Hope International
- John Wilkinson, Attorney Advisor, AEquitas
- Brad Myles, Executive Director and CEO, The Polaris Project
Mobilizing Communities to Care for Victims: Collaboration Amongst Anti-Trafficking NGOs
Preventing human trafficking and ensuring that survivors receive effective services and advocacy necessitates a new paradigm based upon research, community mapping and collaboration.
Moderator: Joan Jarman, Executive Director, Chab Dai USA
- Rose Gundersen, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Washington Engage
- Jim Grenfell, Executive Director, AWARE, Inc.
- AnnJanette Alejano-Steele, PhD, Research and Training Director, Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking
- Emma Catague, Community Organizing Program Manager, Asian & Pacific Islander Women & Family Safety Center
“SOLD” Trailer and Q&A
The co-founders of GRAiNEY Pictures moderate a discussion on how film can both move the needle on public awareness of human trafficking, and change individual behavior at the same time.
- The Sibs (Colin and Megan), Co-Founders, GRAiNEY PICTURES
- Melinda Giovengo, PhD, Executive Director, YouthCare
- Samir Goswami, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Rule of Law, LexisNexis