Asking Polaris to Change National Human Trafficking Hotline Reporting Policies
FRANKFORT, KY – Attorney General Daniel Cameron has joined a bipartisan coalition of 36 attorneys general in urging Congressional leaders to improve the reporting to law enforcement of suspected instances of the human trafficking of adults. The coalition asks Congress to ensure Polaris changes the National Human Trafficking Hotline reporting policies to help state law enforcement combat human trafficking.
"Tips from Polaris' National Human Trafficking Hotline are essential to our efforts to combat human trafficking in the Commonwealth," said Attorney General Cameron. "We joined this letter to urge Congress to ensure Polaris provides comprehensive and swift reporting of suspected instances of human trafficking to law enforcement, so that we in turn, can address this scourge in our communities."
Since 2007, Polaris has operated the National Human Trafficking Hotline with funding authorized by Congress. Many states, including Kentucky, rely on the tips collected by the Hotline to aid local law enforcement in arresting human traffickers, recovering victims, and uncovering evidence of trafficking rings.
Since its inception, the Hotline has received nearly 3,800 hundred contacts related to Kentucky, and of these contacts 920 cases of human trafficking have been identified, involving 2,238 victims.
Recently, attorneys general discovered that Polaris is only forwarding certain tips related to suspected human trafficking of adults to law enforcement. In their letter, the attorneys general express their concern regarding these practices. They write, "...we cannot in good conscience continue to ask the public to share tips about trafficking in their communities if the Hotline will not give us, as law enforcement, the opportunity to address those tips. It serves no one well to do so, least of all the victims that could be helped by a tip phoned in by a good Samaritan who sees their suffering and tries to do the right thing."
"Third party tips enable local law enforcement to address human trafficking and assist victims," said Heather Wagers, Attorney General Cameron's Executive Director for the Office of Trafficking and Abuse Prevention and Prosecution. "Without this information from Polaris, members of our local and state law enforcement communities do not have the information they need to effectively combat human trafficking in our communities which is why we have urged Congress to make changes to Polaris' reporting practices."
The coalition has urged Congress to make changes to Polaris' reporting practices and require the non-profit to promptly share tips with law enforcement to ensure the states do not "lose the benefits of this federal-state partnership to end trafficking."
Attorney General Cameron was joined by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, and Wisconsin in sending the letter.
To read the letter, click here.