TOPEKA – (January 11, 2018) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today requested introduction of legislation to increase protections for victims of human trafficking.
Current law allows courts to issue a protection from stalking or sexual assault order restraining a defendant from harassment, communication and abusive behaviors in addition to placing restrictions on physical proximity to the victim. The new legislation would provide these same protections for victims of human trafficking. It was introduced today in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Since our state’s first anti-human trafficking law was enacted in 2005, Kansas has worked with strong bipartisan support to make great strides in combating this crime against human dignity,” Schmidt said. “This legislation will provide further protection to victims and provide additional tools for law enforcement to arrest traffickers.”
The bill is a result of a recommendation made by the Human Trafficking Advisory Board (HTAB). The HTAB was established in 2010 to explore the issues of human trafficking in Kansas. In 2013, the Kansas Legislature recognized the Board as the state’s official Human Trafficking Advisory Board. This team of advisers is composed of law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, court personnel, victim advocates, human trafficking survivors and others with expertise in the field. Attorney General Schmidt appoints members to the Board.
Today is national Human Trafficking Awareness Day. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking is one of the largest and fastest-growing criminal industries in the world. It is based on recruiting, harboring and transporting people for the purpose of exploitation. Both sex trafficking and labor trafficking occur in Kansas and both adults and children are victims.
Shared Hope International, a victim advocacy group that seeks to end sex trafficking and exploitation worldwide, reports that the State of Kansas is the third most-improved state in the nation for its legislative efforts to combat human trafficking and one of only two states that increased four grade levels since the group’s report card began in 2011. Since 2011, Kansas’ score has risen from an “F” to an “A” in the 2017 report.
“We have made considerable progress as a state toward creating the appropriate legal framework to support victims and bring justice to those who perpetrate this terrible crime,” Schmidt said. “The structure of Kansas law is substantially improved, but there is much more work to be done.”
To request additional information about human trafficking or to learn more about potential signs of human trafficking, go to http://ag.ks.gov/human-trafficking .