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December 17, 2013

LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Dustin McDaniel joined his counterparts from across the country today to call on Congress to approve funding for programs targeted at the prevention of human trafficking in the United States and abroad.

In a letter to congressional leaders, McDaniel and 46 other attorneys general encouraged lawmakers to appropriate money for initiatives authorized under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which passed earlier this year. The Act, first approved by Congress in 2000, made human trafficking a federal crime. Appropriations under the act would help to increase America’s efforts to protect and assist trafficking victims, improve prevention methods and successfully prosecute human traffickers.

“Attorneys general have made it a priority to do everything we can to prevent human trafficking, and federal funding is a tremendous benefit in the fight against this growing problem,” McDaniel said. “I am proud of the work we have started here in Arkansas to eradicate this crime, but it takes law enforcement and victims’ services in every jurisdiction and at every level to continue this progress.”

The National Association of Attorneys General has made prevention of human trafficking one of its major initiatives. In Arkansas, McDaniel included in his legislative package this year the Human Trafficking Act of 2013, which significantly strengthened Arkansas’s human trafficking laws.

McDaniel last month established the Attorney General’s State Task Force for the Prevention of Human Trafficking. The task force will work to develop a state plan for prevention of human trafficking and raise public awareness of the trafficking problem in Arkansas.

Attorneys general told Congressional leaders that human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. About 83 percent of human trafficking victims in the United States are U.S. citizens.

Ongoing federal funding is crucial for programs that help protect minors who are victims of human trafficking and programs that encourage education and awareness about the problem, as well as for support of law enforcement efforts.