Washington state leads effort to combat human trafficking
SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson, along with 46 other state and territorial attorneys general, sent a letter asking Congress to fund the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). This funding would go toward programs that fight human trafficking in the United States and abroad.
Established in 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act greatly increased America’s efforts to protect human trafficking victims, assist survivors, improve prevention methods and successfully prosecute human traffickers. The original legislation established human trafficking as a federal crime.
“Human trafficking is modern day slavery,” said Ferguson. “Federal funding will help prevent trafficking and connect survivors with the help they need.”
Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, after drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with arms dealing as the second largest criminal industry in the world, generating about $32 billion each year.
Many victims of human trafficking are forced to work in prostitution or other areas of the sex industry. Trafficking also occurs in forms of labor exploitation, such as domestic servitude, restaurant work, janitorial work, sweatshop factory work and migrant agricultural work.
According to a study of U.S. Department of Justice human trafficking cases, 83 percent of sex trafficking victims identified in the United States were U.S. citizens. The average age at which U.S. citizens are first used for commercial sex is 12–14.
States in support of anti-trafficking program funding
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller are co-chairs of the National Association of Attorneys General Standing Committee on Human Trafficking. They led the effort to urge Congress to fund the TVPRA.
A total of 47 state and territorial attorneys general signed the letter including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.