HEADLINES: Trafficking

One of the most critical pieces in combatting human trafficking is the engagement of the transportation sector.  While trafficking is not always international, it almost always includes forced migration, whether that be on America’s highways, trains, or airlines.  While some companies and groups, such as Amtrak or the American Trucking Association, have been leaders in the fight against human trafficking, others have been loath to even talk about the issue, worrying that their brand will be tainted by association.  Airlines in particular have been very quiet on the issue of trafficking and most do not even provide training for their employees, as currently Delta is the only major American airline that requires it.  That is why flight attendants like Nancy Rivard are stepping up.  She has partnered with Airline Ambassadors International to develop a voluntary program to educate flight personnel on trafficking issues.  The program so far has been widely successful.  [Deseret News]

In a landslide victory, California voters approved Proposition 35 on Tuesday, showing the constituency’s strong commitment to anti-trafficking legislation.  Over 80 percent of Californians voted for the proposal, which had received wide bipartisan support.  Prop 35 will “increase fines and prison sentences as well as require convicted human traffickers to register as sex offenders and disclose internet activities and identities.”   The bill was endorsed by all of the major politicians in the state, and the majority of the funding was provided by Facebook executive Chris Kelly. [Huffington Post]

Almost immediately after Proposition 35 was passed by a popular vote legal action was  taken against it.  A federal judge in San Francisco temporarily blocked the part of Prop 35 that requires sex offenders to give a list of online screen names and internet service providers to the police.  The suit, filed jointly by the ACLU of Northern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, was brought on behalf of two registered sex offenders.  The suit only challenges the part of the proposition that requires online transparency, though.  The ACLU-NC claims that this law sets a dangerous precedent.  [Sacramento Bee] [KTVU]

Las Vegas has long been highly associated with the sex industry, but the growing metropolis is now having to address its widely spread, yet largely under-reported problem with child sex trafficking.  Over the last 15-20 years, Metro police have investigated about 2,200 children exploited through sex trafficking, and the numbers have been growing. Online trafficking on sites such as Backpage.com have further fueled the growth of sex trafficking. A variety of community organizations are taking up the mantle in the fight against trafficking, though. The Metro police just received a $500,000 grant to enact new anti-trafficking programs, and diverse faith communities are coming together to work for an interfaith commitment to anti-trafficking. Additionally, activists in Las Vegas are hoping to receive enough community support to open a safe house for teenage victims of sex trafficking. Trafficking victims are very vulnerable to further exploitation if not provided with support and essential services. [Las Vegas Sun]

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