October 11, 2018
Las Vegas, NV – Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced that his office has created a Law Enforcement Screening Tool for Victims of Human Trafficking. The tool aids law enforcement working with suspected survivors of human trafficking to better investigate human trafficking crimes.
Survivors of human trafficking are often arrested, detained, prosecuted and convicted without ever being identified as victims. Many of these survivors are left to deal with issues of criminalization and the stigma that follows them long after they have escaped exploitation. The screening tool provides law enforcement with a series of questions to better determine whether law enforcement contact is related to sex or labor trafficking, and the circumstances in the survivor’s lives surrounding prior contacts with law enforcement.
“Survivors of human trafficking are often cycled through the criminal justice system many times for crimes directly related to the force and coercion of their traffickers,” said Laxalt. “The screening tool will provide law enforcement with uniform guidance to conduct trauma-informed investigations of sex or labor trafficking—resulting in earlier assistance to survivors of this horrific crime.”
“Victim advocates throughout Nevada agree that arrest records of human trafficking survivors serve as a reminder of the abuse suffered at the hands of their traffickers, and can follow a survivor long after the trafficking stops, ” added Nicole O’Banion, Ombudsman for the Office of the Nevada Attorney General. “This toolkit will help law enforcement in early detection of human trafficking victims, affording us more opportunities to extend a helping hand.”
Prior to using this screening tool, law enforcement are encouraged to take a trauma-informed training on human trafficking screenings. The webinar provided by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center encourages law enforcement and service providers to consider ways to tailor engagement that meet the needs of each potential victim, build trust and increase receptivity to services. The screening tool also recommends that law enforcement develop internal policies and procedures related to screening, as well as a resource referral network to ensure potential survivors of human trafficking can be connected with the appropriate service provider.
Since taking office, AG Laxalt has co-hosted five benefit dinners to support survivors of human trafficking and raise donations for Nevada’s Victims of Human Trafficking Fund. The account is entirely donation based, and helps Nevada’s victims in emergency situations such as temporary housing or transportation costs. Though proceeds are still being tabulated from the most recent benefit dinner on August 23, 2018, a total of nearly $240,000 has been raised for Nevada’s Victims of Human Trafficking Fund under AG Laxalt’s leadership.