Since new laws went into effect last year to improve Arkansas’ laws combating human trafficking, calls to the human trafficking hotline, hosted by the Polaris Project, have increased significantly.
Minority Leader Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, said awareness of the once hidden issue coupled with the legislation he sponsored was responsible for the surge which has resulted in as many calls during the first six months of 2013 as all of 2012.
Leding said awareness was helping bring the issue to the surface. The number, he said, is now posted at travel stops and other locations all over the state.
Since Leding and Representative David Meeks, R-Conway, began pushing for a toughening of human traffic-related laws in Arkansas, the state has moved from one of the worst rated states by the Polaris Project to one of the top rated in terms of laws combating the issue. Meeks said even though the state was made significant progress since the issue was first brought to the attention of many Arkansans at a conference in June 2012, it was important to keep moving forward. “We are making strides, but we can’t stop until it is completely eliminated from the state of Arkansas,” he said.
Meeks said exploring all the information from Polaris and trying to institute stricter human trafficking laws will continue, no matter the progress made. “Again, it’s something that we’ll take a look at for Arkansas and if it is (a law that needs to be addressed), we’ll definitely try to get it passed in the next legislative session.”
Residents who suspect human trafficking can call the human trafficking hotline at (888) 373-7888.
Learn more at Ryan Saylor’s The City Wire article: Calls increase to Arkansas human trafficking hotline.