TOPEKA – (August 15, 2013) – A leading national organization has moved Kansas into the top tier of states for new efforts to combat human trafficking, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.
In its annual report released yesterday, Polaris Project now lists Kansas in the top group of states in light of the new anti-human trafficking law enacted earlier this year by the Legislature. In 2011, Kansas was ranked in the third tier of states, essentially the bottom third nationwide. Under the current rankings, Kansas is now tied for 11th best among the states for its anti-human trafficking efforts.
“This is dramatic national recognition of our strengthened commitment to human dignity that the Legislature enacted this year,” Schmidt said. “We have more work to do, but we’re making tremendous progress.”
The new law, which was recommended by Gov. Sam Brownback and Attorney General Schmidt, increases services for human trafficking victims and strengthens support for enforcement of the law. It also directs the attorney general’s office to coordinate the Kansas anti-human trafficking efforts, including training and educational outreach. Schmidt has reorganized his office to establish an anti-human trafficking unit to guide implementation of the new law and has hired former State Rep. Pat Colloton, who was chair of the House of Representatives Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee, to lead the effort.
Polaris Project, based in Washington, D.C., describes itself as 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 that individuals and communities respond to human trafficking, in the U.S. and globally, in part by pushing for stronger federal and state anti-human trafficking laws. Polaris also staffs the National Human Trafficking Hotline that can connect victims to local authorities and services.
The new annual report can be found at www.polarisproject.org.