January 11, 2016
AG Laxalt provides human trafficking resources and information
Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt commemorates Human Trafficking Awareness Day by offering resources and information about this transnational crime and its impact in Nevada. Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery impacting our most vulnerable populations, and is estimated to be a $150 billion criminal enterprise worldwide. More than 20 million people worldwide are currently victims, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department reports that it has recovered 2,662 victims of sex trafficking since 1994.
“As the Attorney General’s Office continues to build capacity to successfully prosecuting trafficking offenses, the month of January is dedicated to raising awareness and combating the problem,” said Laxalt. “Today serves as a reminder to Nevadans that each one of us can play a part in combating human trafficking, whether by educating our communities or offering our time and financial support to organizations that provide services to victims.”
In 2013, the Attorney General’s Office created Assembly Bill (AB) 67 in Nevada, establishing the crime of sex trafficking of children and adults, and making victims eligible for state assistance. The new law changed the pandering statute to the sex trafficking statute while using the federal definition of sex trafficking to increase penalties by one sentencing level. Those convicted would have to register as a sex offender, and their assets would be seized, liquidated and provided as relief to the victims. Restitution would be mandatory with the ability to bring a civil cause of action, and the victim’s testimony could be used to prosecute the case at trial.
In 2015, AG Laxalt also shepherded a number of bills pertaining to human trafficking in Nevada, including AB 214 that provides enhanced penalties for “johns” who buy sex from minors, AB 193 that makes it easier for prosecutors to bring charges against offenders by allowing the use of hearsay in certain types of hearings, AB 49 that allows for the testimony of an expert in human trafficking cases to educate a jury about the prostitution subculture and manipulative tactics used to control victims, and AB 107 that enhances trafficked victims’ abilities to clear their record.
In the same year, AG Laxalt secured the first human sex trafficking conviction out of the Attorney General’s Office by convicting a man who forced his 17-year-old victim to engage in prostitution on the Las Vegas Strip. The conviction included a 36-120 month prison sentence. AG Laxalt also raised $25,000 for the human trafficking contingency account that provides victims with the means to lead a safe and stable life after gaining freedom from traffickers. AG Laxalt hopes to continue to boost the capabilities of his Office to prosecute traffickers and assist Nevada’s vulnerable victims.
What is Human Trafficking:
According to United States federal law, human trafficking is defined as (A) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or (B) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.
Recognizing the Signs:
Human trafficking is often hidden to those who are not aware of its warning signs. Recognizing potential indicators is key to identifying victims and assisting in the recovery process. Common indicators that signal suspicious activity and possible human trafficking include:
- Lacks health care
- Exhibits poor physical or dental health
- Appears malnourished
- Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse
- Appears disoriented
- Avoids eye contact and social interaction, and is hesitant to talk to strangers
- Is fearful of authority figures, especially law enforcement officers
- Has few personal possessions, and regularly wears the same clothes
- Lacks identifying documentation
- Works excessively long hours
- Lives at the place of employment
- Checks into hotels or motels with older males and refers to those males as boyfriend or “daddy,” often slang for pimp
Resources for Victims:
To report instances of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center is a national, toll-free hotline available to answer calls from anywhere in the country 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Individuals may also call the U.S. Department of Justice Hotline at 1-888-428-7581 or call the local authorities.
More Information Related to Human Trafficking:
Polaris Project is a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Named after the North Star “Polaris” that guided slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project is transforming the way individuals and communities respond to human trafficking, in the U.S. and worldwide. By successfully pushing for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, conducting trainings and providing vital services to victims of trafficking, Polaris Project creates long-term solutions that move our society closer to a world without slavery. Learn more at https://polarisproject.org/.
Innocents at Risk is a nonprofit founded to fight human trafficking and child exploitation. Since its inception in 2004, Innocents at Risk has been working to raise awareness about the horrors of child trafficking around the world. The organization conducts educational outreach programs, and recently began training airline personnel on ways to protect children who are trafficked on flights. To learn more about Innocents at risk, visit their website at www.innocentsatrisk.org
In order to bring awareness to human trafficking, the Attorney General’s Office will be posting informational alerts on social media each day of this week. To receive the alerts, follow the Office on Twitter @NevadaAG and Facebook at Nevada Attorney General.