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Vermont Attorney General Joins President Obama And The Vermont Legislature In Commemorating January 11th As Human Trafficking Awareness Day

CONTACT: William H. Sorrell, Attorney General, (802) 828-3171

January 11, 2013

January 11th has been designated by President Obama as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell joins the President in commemorating this designation and notes that the Vermont Legislature will be recognizing this event by Resolution on the floors of the House and Senate today.

Attorney General William H. Sorrell notes that “human trafficking is a brutal, complex, and widespread crime in which vulnerable persons are targeted through force, fraud or coercion to engage in activity against their will. It happens all over our country and is often perpetrated in plain sight. Raising awareness and addressing common misconceptions about trafficking are the first steps in preventing the crime, meeting the needs of victims, and holding traffickers and purchasers accountable.”

Human trafficking is the selling of human beings for profit through forced labor, sexual exploitation or involuntary domestic servitude. Experts estimate 27 million people are trafficked worldwide annually, reaping $32 billion in illegal profits which makes it the second-largest and fastest-growing black market in the world. An estimated 1 million children worldwide are sexually exploited annually, with the average age of girls forced into the sex trade between the ages of 12 and 14. Within the United States alone, it is estimated that nearly 300,000 children are trafficked for sex every year.

The Attorney General’s Office chaired Vermont’s initial Human Trafficking Task Force created by S.272 and reported its finding and recommendations to the legislature.

The Attorney General’s Task Force concluded that Vermont should join its New England neighbors and adopt a state Human Trafficking statute. Vermont’s subsequent human trafficking statute establishes a comprehensive criminal and civil response to trafficking in Vermont. It provides strict criminal sanctions for both labor and sexual servitude and victim services to the vulnerable folks who are being trafficked. “The State of Vermont has made a commitment to halt trafficking through investigations, prosecutions and public awareness and to provide services and a safe harbor to victims of human trafficking” concludes Attorney General William H. Sorrell. The Polaris Project has given Vermont’s law (Act 55) its highest rating for its strong anti-trafficking legal framework.

The Attorney General’s Office continues to collaborate with Vermont’s current Human Trafficking Task Force led by the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services. During 2012, The Task Force presented human trafficking trainings to social service providers, law enforcement and state agencies. The Task Force joined with criminal justice stakeholders, on the federal and state level, along with non-profit advocacy organizations to host a New England Conference entitled “Not for Sale: Responding to Sexual Exploitation.” In addition the Task Force is working on the development of a statewide human trafficking protocol for law enforcement and service providers.

“If you wish to join our effort, consider how you can help” urges Attorney General William H. Sorrell. “Just as domestic violence all too recently was a topic broached only behind closed doors, bringing the tragedy of human trafficking to the public eye is the first step of many. The fight to end the exploitation of human trafficking victims continues. Please join us.”

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.