By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Last week, the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force held its inaugural meeting in the Alabama State House to study the growing problem of human trafficking in Alabama.
The Joint House Resolution creating the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force was sponsored by Representative Jack Williams (R) from Vestavia Hills.
The purpose of the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force is to:
- Combat all aspects of human trafficking, including sex trafficking and labor trafficking.
- Pursue a comprehensive response to crimes of human trafficking.
- Coordinate strategies to provide necessary services for victims of human trafficking.
Focus prevention efforts to end the demand for human trafficking and create awareness through education and community initiatives.
Develop legislation to prevent, intervene, and treat human trafficking.
The Task Force is comprised of 15 members who meet four times a year. The Executive and Legislative Branches of State government along with the Huntsville-Madison County and Central Alabama Human Trafficking Task Forces are represented on the Statewide Task Force.
Huntsville/Madison County Human Trafficking Chair, Pat McCay said in a written statement, “The Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force is a collaboration of State agencies and grassroots activists to eradicate human trafficking in Alabama. The inaugural meeting will kick start statewide efforts to educate Alabamians about the reality of sex and labor trafficking in our state.”
Alabama Representative Jack Williams (R) from Vestavia was elected to Chair the task force.
Representative Williams said that this Task Force will be ongoing and that human trafficking will not be fixed over night, but this Task Force will work to help all parties communicate together and come up with legislation to help combat it in Alabama.
Attorney Banks Smith told the task force that he has just tried, what is thought to be, the first human trafficking case in Alabama. The trafficker was convicted. Mr. Smith suggested changes to the wording of laws, so that future cases will be easier to prosecute.
The task force discussed how to identify trafficking victims and how to curb demand.
Pat McCay, the Chair Huntsville-Madison County Human Trafficking Task, gave Power Point Presentation presenting an overview of the trafficking problem in Alabama.
The Executive Director of the WellHouse, Tajuan McCarty, presented her story to the task force. Tajuan McCarty said on Facebook, “Had the honor and privilege to speak at The Alabama State House today for the first meeting of The Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force.
Representative Jack Williams presented a resolution to Governor Bentley to implement this Task Force and it was approved. “Grateful to be asked to tell a portion of my story and what we do at The WellHouse. Representative Williams supports our efforts in this fight. Grateful to have him and the other members in this fight with us.”
Randy Hillman, was elected Vice-Chairman of the new state task force and Pat McCay was elected Secretary.
The next meeting of the task force will be September 15, 2014, in room 418 of the State House, 1:30 PM.
According to the task force’s statement, human trafficking is the second largest criminal activity in the world and enslaves hundreds of thousands of victims each year. Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud or coercion by traffickers, to recruit or capture and also control their victims.