Indiana Tackles Trafficking

The Hoosier State is upping its game to disrupt the business of modern day slavery. With 27 reported cases of human trafficking in Indiana this year as of June, the state is increasing efforts to prosecute perpetrators and raise awareness. Members of Indiana’s Attorney General’s office recently met with faculty, staff, and students at Indiana State University in Terre Haute to discuss how the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprise affects all Americans and how Indiana is fighting back.

Over 20 million people are victims of trafficking worldwide. Behind factory walls, on the fields of farms, and in the dark rooms of brothels, they earn their captors an estimated $150 billion annually. Their exploitation doesn’t happen just in far-flung developing nations—but also right here in the United States.

The state launched the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans (IPATH). The program, which filed its first indictments against traffickers in 2014, facilitates collaboration between local and state law enforcement, the FBI, Indiana’s Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Labor, and NGOs, among others. A powerful force against trafficking, IPATH helps advance criminal investigations, raise awareness, and provide police training.

Task forces that cross jurisdictions and industries are catching on. Recently in Ohio, a joint effort between local police and the FBI rescued several teens from forced labor on a factory farm.

While many programs like IPATH are already in place, they are often underfunded. The Department of Justice’s anti-trafficking programs should be backed up by additional Congressional funding, providing dedicated public servants with the tools they need to put traffickers out of business. Where such collaborative programs don’t yet exist, law enforcement, business, and NGOs should join efforts to bring traffickers to justice.

For more information on Human Rights First and the effort to dismantle the business of slavery, see our blueprint.

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Published on October 15, 2015

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