LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An Arkansas working group released a report Friday giving recommendations on how the state can combat human trafficking.
The group, established by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders through an executive order, was asked to develop a coordinated approach to human trafficking crime and victim assistance in the state.
The report’s recommendations included the implementation of an evidence-based screening tool to identify human trafficking victims and updating training and educational materials.
They also suggested revising data, information sharing and state protocols to serve victims through a standardized tool, which would be used by law enforcement, first responders, guidance counselors and what the report called “frontline individuals” across the state.
The recommendations also include forming a response hub to coordinate across different agencies and individuals.
The Arkansas Department of Public Service and Department of Human Services brought together experts to develop the working group’s recommendations. Those two agencies recently received a $1.5 million 3-year grant from the federal Office of Victims of Crime to support the implementation of the recommendations as well as create the Arkansas Human Trafficking Council.
Officials said the funding will allow agencies to provide victim support and care, including the removal or modification of branding, as well as equipping and training law enforcement to investigate and prosecute human trafficking.
The recommendations are being announced days before an inaugural Human Trafficking Summit taking place in Little Rock Oct. 16-17. The free event was organized by Attorney General Tim Griffin’s office.
In a statement released after the recommendations were shared, Sanders said she welcomed the group’s suggestions and that she was focused on fighting the “atrocity” of human trafficking in the state.
“Human trafficking is a heinous crime that far too often goes unnoticed and unreported. As Governor, I’m committed to ending this atrocity in Arkansas,” the governor said. “I welcome this working group’s expertly crafted recommendations and look forward to working with government officials and outside stakeholders to put them into action.”
The full report from the working group is available online at HumanServices.Arkansas.gov.