New state panel to look at human trafficking

Today — national Human Trafficking Awareness Day —Attorney General Steve Six announced he is forming an advisory board to explore human trafficking issues in the state.

In an e-mail, his office said, "Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery and is the second greatest criminal enterprise in the world, second only to the illegal sale of drugs. Human trafficking exists in every country in the world, even here in the United States. Men, women and children are forced to work for long hours under deplorable conditions for little or no pay without the freedom to leave. Trafficking victims work in agriculture, domestic service, food production, food service, construction and the sex industry."

The advisors will include law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, court personnel, advocates, victims and experts. The advisory board will be led by Assistant Attorney General Christine Ladner, who has prosecuted child abuse and human trafficking cases.

Among the goals of the advisors: developing a public awareness campaign; identifying victims of trafficking; providing services to victims; obtaining resources for a task force to investigate; and developing a system for collaborative efforts to ensure prosecution.