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November 06, 2013

LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced today that he has established a statewide task force to focus on preventing human trafficking and raising awareness about the issue.

McDaniel announced the creation of the Attorney General’s State Task Force for the Prevention of Human Trafficking at a news conference this afternoon. The task force is composed of law enforcement officials, state agency representatives, community leaders and victims’ rights advocates from across Arkansas. Its first meeting will be Nov. 19 at the state Capitol.

“The Attorney General’s Task Force is united in the goals to improve the response to human trafficking in Arkansas and work cooperatively to end this crime,” McDaniel said. “Human trafficking is beneath the dignity of the people of Arkansas, and it takes all of us working together to prevent it.”

The Human Trafficking Act of 2013 calls for the Attorney General to establish the task force to address every aspect of human trafficking in the state, including the forced labor trafficking and sex trafficking of U.S. citizens and foreign nationals.

The task force is to develop a state plan to prevent trafficking, work to improve information sharing among governmental and nongovernmental organizations that deal with the issue, raise public awareness of human trafficking and create a training curriculum for law enforcement officials.

The Act was a component of the Attorney General’s legislative package this year, and it enjoyed broad bipartisan support. The efforts in the Legislature this year to strengthen Arkansas’s anti-human trafficking laws gained national recognition. The Polaris Project identified Arkansas as its most-improved state in addressing the crime.

McDaniel was joined at today’s news conference by Sen. Joyce Elliott and Reps. David Meeks and Greg Leding. Those lawmakers, and Sens. Missy Irvin and Jason Rapert, sponsored legislation to help Arkansas combat human trafficking and have been tireless in their advocacy for awareness of the problem.

McDaniel appointed Assistant Attorney General Will Jones and Reagan Stanford of Catholic Charities of Arkansas as co-chairs of the task force.

Members of the Attorney General’s State Task Force for the Prevention of Human Trafficking:

Will Jones, Assistant Attorney General, co-chair
Reagan Stanford, Catholic Charities of Arkansas, co-chair
Louise Allison, Executive Director of Partners Against Trafficking Humans
Ronnie Baldwin, Executive Director of the Arkansas Sheriffs Association
Capt. Jeff Basancon, Benton Police Department
Sheriff Marty Boyd, Craighead County Sheriff
Capt. Steven Coppinger, Assistant Division Commander of the Arkansas Fusion Center
Lamar Davis, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Arkansas Governor’s Office
Conner Eldridge, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas
Dr. Karen Farst, Arkansas Children’s House
Daniel K. Faulkner, Arkansas Department of Labor
Sgt. Allen Hamby, Little Rock Police Department
Chief Bob Harrison, Texarkana Police Department
Kandi Hause, Little Rock Police Department
Sheriff Doc Holladay, Pulaski County Sheriff
Det. Jennifer Hurd, Little Rock Police Department
Charlene James, North Little Rock Police Department
Stephanie Jira, Little Rock Regional Director of the Not For Sale Campaign
Ken Jones, Director of the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training
Josh Kaplan, U.S. Marshals Service
Avis Lane, Director of the Attorney General’s Community Relations Division
Brian T. Marr, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Secret Service Little Rock Office
Dr. Cheryl P. May, Director of the Criminal Justice Institute
Marc McCune, 21st Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney
Angela McGraw, Executive Director of Women and Children First Arkansas
Bob McMahon, Arkansas Prosecutor Coordinator
Nicholas Nelson, Resident Agent-in-Charge, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Little Rock
Gigi Peters, Executive Director of the UALR MidSOUTH Center
Lt. Jim Potter, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office
Joyce Raynor, Executive Director of the Center for Healing Hearts and Spirits
Montie Sims, President of the Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police
Gerald Spurgers, Supervisory Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation-Little Rock
Dr. Nathaniel Smith, Director of the Arkansas Department of Health
Christopher Thyer, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas
David M. Tusson, Resident Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Little Rock
Edgardo Briones Velazquez, Deputy Consul of the Mexican Consulate of Little Rock
Mark White, Arkansas Department of Human Services
Jay Winters, Director of the Arkansas Crime Information Center
Col. Stan Witt, Director of the Arkansas State Police
Lisette Yang, Children’s Protection Center