Executive Summary and Introduction
The State of Alaska Task Force on the Crimes of Human Trafficking, Promoting Prostitution and Sex Trafficking was established by legislation in 2012 to do the following: (1) look at the prevalence of the crimes of human trafficking and sex trafficking in Alaska; (2) assess the current services available to victims of human and sex trafficking; and (3) make recommendations for ways to further assist victims. This report is the final culmination of the task force’s work and includes the task force’s final recommendations.
The task force met over the course of five months and held three public hearings in Anchorage, Bethel and Hooper Bay. In addition to hours of testimony and some written comments, the task force also received background information from its staff to gain a better understanding of services available throughout the state and the prevalence of the issue in Alaska. Although the task force received a lot of information, it found that there are also a lot of gaps in information due to the underground nature of the crime and the tendency of trafficking victims not to self-report. Therefore, many of the task force’s recommendations focus on how to better identify victims and public awareness of human trafficking.
The task force’s final recommendations are summarized below:
1. Establish a permanent working group on human and sex trafficking.
2. Conduct a high profile media campaign.
3. Develop a mechanism to allow victim advocates access to potential trafficking
4. Educate youth on the subject of human and sex trafficking
5. Train law enforcement, Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), prosecutors and key service providers on how to identify and assist trafficking victims.
6. Amend the administrative subpoena law to encompass the trafficking statutes.
7. Establish pre-trial diversion programs for persons arrested for prostitution.
8. Update population and in-take surveys to better identify potential trafficking victims.
9. Continue efforts on language access for victims.
10. Encourage establishment of safe shelters, both short and long-term.
11. Create mechanism to ensure housing of unaccompanied minors in emergency circumstances.
12. Develop hotline and emergency response for hotline.
13. Evaluate legislation to allow expungement of prior prostitution convictions of trafficking victims.
In addition to the recommendations above, the task force supports the provisions in Governor Parnell’s recent omnibus crime bill addressing trafficking. In particular, the task force supports the change to the Violent Crimes Compensation Board to cover trafficking victims, the elimination in the statute of limitations for a tort claim, and the expansion of wiretapping for the crimes of human and sex trafficking.