Mayor Announces Program to Combat Human Trafficking
January 7, 2013
Albuquerque- Today Mayor Richard J. Berry along with staff at the Family Advocacy Center announced a new initiative for Human Trafficking victims and joined states across the nation in proclaiming today, “Human Trafficking Awareness Day”.
"We live in a nation where freedom is and should be part of our identity- ‘America’- Land of the Free, but as a country we are still battling an evil crime that steals those freedoms and enslaves countless victims - Human Trafficking," said Mayor Berry. "Combating this crime starts right here at home, with awareness."
The Human Trafficking Initiative was created in conjunction with on-going efforts already being provided by the Albuquerque Police Department’s VICE unit. Today’s announcement centered around- creating meaningful changes for victims and citywide awareness. The Mayor announced a new Task Force, comprised of local experts, that will be devoted to providing a safe haven and resources for victims, and over the course of the next 90 days will also assemble and present recommendations to the Mayor on ways to specifically address this issue here, in Albuquerque.
The Mayor also addressed legislation that he plans on supporting in Santa Fe in the upcoming legislative session, which includes strengthening the penalty for human trafficking convictions, eliminating loopholes in the state statute on human trafficking, and renewing licensure requirements for all massage parlors in the state.
The Mayor also expressed support of the Polaris Project. This program, out of Washington DC, has gained the attention of advocates in this field, and today the Mayor encouraged local businesses, schools, and families to hang the poster at their place of work and bolster awareness on this important topic. (poster is attached)
Nationally the Human Trafficking Resource Line has seen an increase of almost 65% in the call volume. The Mayor hopes that these new resources will help our city be in a better place to eliminate this evil crime from our communities.