(News Release) Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced today that he has established a statewide task force to focus on preventing human trafficking and raising awareness about the issue.
McDaniel announced the creation of the Attorney General’s State Task Force for the Prevention of Human Trafficking at a news conference this afternoon. The task force is composed of law enforcement officials, state agency representatives, community leaders and victims’ rights advocates from across Arkansas. Its first meeting will be Nov. 19 at the State Capitol.
“The Attorney General’s Task Force is united in the goals to improve the response to human trafficking in Arkansas and work cooperatively to end this crime,” McDaniel said. “Human trafficking is beneath the dignity of the people of Arkansas, and it takes all of us working together to prevent it.”
The Human Trafficking Act of 2013 calls for the Attorney General to establish the task force to address every aspect of human trafficking in the state, including the forced labor trafficking and sex trafficking of U.S. citizens and foreign nationals.
The task force is to develop a state plan to prevent trafficking, work to improve information sharing among governmental and nongovernmental organizations that deal with the issue, raise public awareness of human trafficking and create a training curriculum for law enforcement officials.
The Act was a component of the Attorney General’s legislative package this year, and it enjoyed broad bipartisan support. The efforts in the Legislature this year to strengthen Arkansas’s anti-human trafficking laws gained national recognition. The Polaris Project identified Arkansas as its most-improved state in addressing the crime.
McDaniel was joined at today’s news conference by Sen. Joyce Elliott and Reps. David Meeks and Greg Leding. Those lawmakers, and Sens. Missy Irvin and Jason Rapert, sponsored legislation to help Arkansas combat human trafficking and have been tireless in their advocacy for awareness of the problem.
McDaniel appointed Assistant Attorney General Will Jones and Reagan Stanford of Catholic Charities of Arkansas as co-chairs of the task force.
Members of the Attorney General’s State Task Force for the Prevention of Human Trafficking:
- Will Jones, Assistant Attorney General, co-chair
- Reagan Stanford, Catholic Charities of Arkansas, co-chair
- Louise Allison, Executive Director of Partners Against Trafficking Humans
- Ronnie Baldwin, Executive Director of the Arkansas Sheriffs Association
- Capt. Jeff Basancon, Benton Police Department
- Sheriff Marty Boyd, Craighead County Sheriff
- Capt. Steven Coppinger, Assistant Division Commander of the Arkansas Fusion Center
- Lamar Davis, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Arkansas Governor’s Office
- Conner Eldridge, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas
- Dr. Karen Farst, Arkansas Children’s House
- Daniel K. Faulkner, Arkansas Department of Labor
- Sgt. Allen Hamby, Little Rock Police Department
- Chief Bob Harrison, Texarkana Police Department
- Kandi Hause, Little Rock Police Department
- Sheriff Doc Holladay, Pulaski County Sheriff
- Det. Jennifer Hurd, Little Rock Police Department
- Charlene James, North Little Rock Police Department
- Stephanie Jira, Little Rock Regional Director of the Not For Sale Campaign
- Ken Jones, Director of the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training
- Josh Kaplan, U.S. Marshals Service
- Avis Lane, Director of the Attorney General’s Community Relations Division
- Brian T. Marr, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Secret Service Little Rock Office
- Dr. Cheryl P. May, Director of the Criminal Justice Institute
- Marc McCune, 21st Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney
- Angela McGraw, Executive Director of Women and Children First Arkansas
- Bob McMahon, Arkansas Prosecutor Coordinator
- Nicholas Nelson, Resident Agent-in-Charge, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Little Rock
- Gigi Peters, Executive Director of the UALR MidSOUTH Center
- Lt. Jim Potter, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office
- Joyce Raynor, Executive Director of the Center for Healing Hearts and Spirits
- Montie Sims, President of the Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police
- Gerald Spurgers, Supervisory Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation-Little Rock
- Dr. Nathaniel Smith, Director of the Arkansas Department of Health
- Christopher Thyer, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas
- David M. Tusson, Resident Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Little Rock
- Edgardo Briones Velazquez, Deputy Consul of the Mexican Consulate of Little Rock
- Mark White, Arkansas Department of Human Services
- Jay Winters, Director of the Arkansas Crime Information Center
- Col. Stan Witt, Director of the Arkansas State Police
- Lisette Yang, Children’s Protection Center