In a move that spells good news for certain abused children and adults, the Attorney General’s State Task Force for the Prevention of Human Trafficking presented a robust list of recommendations to a group of legislators sympathetic to the issue last week.

In a move that spells good news for certain abused children and adults, the Attorney General’s State Task Force for the Prevention of Human Trafficking presented a robust list of recommendations to a group of legislators sympathetic to the issue last week.


Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, noted that the investment of money and commitment of other resources was so small compared to the good the recommendations could do that "I don’t see myself not completely on board with trying to do what we can to implement these in the next (legislative) session."


That’s even though the recommendations call for adding two employees to the attorney general’s staff to route human-trafficking calls to the correct agencies, track data and help establish regional task forces with local law enforcement agencies.


The task force also recommended creating either a separate commission on human trafficking at the state level or adding a human-trafficking subcommittee to the existing state Commission on Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence.


Perhaps most shocking of the recommendations is to create a court program to care for children who are juvenile human-trafficking victims. At this time, said Assistant Attorney General Will Jones, law enforcement agencies sometimes charge a child victim of human trafficking with a crime because that is their only way to ensure the child would have "somewhere to go that night to lay their head on a pillow."


Talk about being victimized twice.


Mr. Jones said this dilemma was one of the primary reasons for the task force’s study: "We realized that we’ve got a population of victims that we don’t have services for. That’s unacceptable."


Other recommendations include making human trafficking a crime that requires offenders to register as sex offenders, providing additional training for service providers and creating "johns schools" to educate men who seek the services of prostitutes.


Arkansas law requires legislators approve a balanced budget, so there will have to be some horse trading to find offsetting reductions if the recommendations are to be put into action. Nevertheless, we are encouraged by Sen. Hester’s statement that he cannot imagine not supporting these changes.


One recommended change with the potential for a giant impact is simple and perhaps inexpensive compared to the impact. The Task Force recommends making it mandatory to post the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s hot line number in rest stops, elementary schools, public campgrounds, restaurants, hotels and motels.


In the meantime, there is nothing to stop principals and proprietors from posting the number now.


The Resource Center staffs a 24-hour hot line at (888) 373-7888. Services also can be accessed by texting HELP or INFO to BeFree, 233733. The same numbers are available for those who want to report a tip, become educated on the issue or request training.


Human trafficking is modern slavery. It’s time to end it.