Human trafficking task force meets, sets goals


LITTLE ROCK — A new state task force created to help prevent and raise awareness about human trafficking discussed its mission and developed a plan of action during its first meeting Tuesday at the state Capitol.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who named 40 members to the State Task Force for the Prevention of Human Trafficking earlier this month, attended the meeting and said their job is crucial.

The panel was created under Act 133 of 2013, known as the Human Trafficking Act of 2013. The legislation toughened Arkansas’ human trafficking laws and offered new protections to victims. It also allowed authorized the attorney general to appoint a task force to address human trafficking issues.

“We all have the same goal, to improve the response to human trafficking in Arkansas and to work cooperatively to address and end this crime in our state,” McDaniel to panel members Tuesday, adding that the task force’s job is to “develop a comprehensive statewide plan for prevention of human trafficking, as well as implementing that plan by coordinating with law enforcement and government agencies.”

McDaniel said the task force also will help improve information gathering and information sharing among agencies with the goal of better identifying those individuals or groups who are engaged in human trafficking.

The panel also will create policies to better assist victims, as well as develop the curriculum for training law enforcement agencies on how to deal with human trafficking crimes and the victims.

The task force’s next meeting is tentatively set for Jan. 21.