Washington States Attorney General Rob McKenna was just elected as president of the National Association of Attorney Generals. He called for stiffer penalties for traffickers and better protections for victims of human trafficking. This is a great goal and all and I hope he wasn’t just talking to hear himself talk. Still, here are a few suggestions that he could follow up on and maybe the results will be positive. I don’t know how much influence he will have over this but here’s where he can make a difference.
The cases of human trafficking are out there. If the Attorney General has any influence, get a nationwide training put together for prosecutors. Human trafficking cases around the country have been dropped or ignored due to prosecutor’s ignorance or fear of losing a case with these new laws. Each county prosecutor or district attorney should find a deputy prosecutor that is passionate and wants to do these cases. That person should constantly be educating themselves and being trained on human trafficking not only locally but globally.
The penalties are already out there for these crimes. If McKenna can find a way to hold judges accountable for not issuing maximum sentences then he will not need stiffer penalties. Prosecutors should not have relationships with judges. What I mean is they want to please the judge’s personal belief about a law and not what the law actually is. There are more judges,police administrators, and prosecutors that still do not believe that human trafficking is occurring since there are not a high number of arrests and cases being filed. When the prosecutors start taking more of these cases to court, more victims will come forward. There is a lack of confidence due to lack of cases.
On the protection of victims. The Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) provide for the victim’s needs and they do a great job at this. You can’t detain a trafficking victim or you will be putting them back in a confined situation. They have to be free to come and go. Most of these places are secure and there is rarely, if ever, an instance where a trafficker shows up. If they do, the victim let the trafficker know where she was staying. States usually don’t have a version of the witness protection program. Police budgets are strapped and once again having guards around a victim would be detaining them.
Lastly, vice crimes are being pushed aside due to budget constraints. Most departments do not enforce vice crimes since the criminal justice system places low priority on them. Prostitutes and the customers need to be aggressively pursued not just once in a while on a highly publicized sweep. To all the far leftys that attack me and believe all prostitutes are victims, if you want all prostitutes to become victims, then we will stop enforcing the prostitution laws. We will not stop trafficking if we get rid of these laws or stop enforcing them. That’s an official warning to keep trafficking from exploding in this country.