Sex trafficking task force to hold hearings

by Sophie Evan on December 12, 2012

Public hearings on sex trafficking are happening in Bethel and Hooper Bay Thursday. They are being run by the State of Alaska’s Task Force on the Crimes of Human Trafficking, Prostitution, and Sex Trafficking.

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Assistant Attorney General Cory Mills says the Task Force hopes to let everyone know about the serious dangers young Native women face, particularly those from Western Alaska.

Cut 1 “if you have experience with anyone do they know anyone who has been trafficked either for labor or sex purposes, as well as just what are the concerns in the community relating to trafficking are there specific instances that you think are experienced in your region versus lets say Anchorage, two very different regions, but we do know that trafficking occurs in both rural and urban settings, it just may be different, so we’re gathering as much information as possible.”

Mills says that they would like to hear any suggestions and recommendations on how to address the sex trafficking issue. From outreach and awareness to the changing of criminal laws. The Task force will then take all the testimony and expert advice; compile it all into a report to be presented to the Alaska Legislature by January 15th. Mills says it will be up the lawmakers to change or strengthen current state laws.

Cut 2 “ for anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable in coming forward and speaking in front of the Task Force we are also accepting written comments, so whether they’re written, oral, or you just want to call me at 465-2132, any form of comment is acceptable, not just at these hearings.”

December 20th is the last day the Task Force will accept written testimony.

The hearing in Hooper Bay starts at 11:30 Thursday morning at their Tribal Council Building. Later Thursday, The Task Force will be in Bethel for a second hearing. It will start at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, in Council Chambers.

Anyone may participate in the hearing telephonically, by calling 1-800-315-6338 with the password 3600. You can go to our website, kyuk.org, to see the number again. KYUK will re-broadcast the Bethel Hearing on Friday from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Members of the task force include; Attorney General Michael Geraghty, Commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services William Streur, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety Joseph Masters, Gwen Adams and Michelle DeWitt, who is the Director of Tundra Women’s Coalition in Bethel.

Sophie Evan KYUK news.

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