Bartlett, McNamara recognize January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month
INDIANAPOLIS - State Reps. John L. Bartlett (D-Indianapolis) and Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) today presented a resolution to honor human trafficking survivors and raise awareness on modern-day slavery by recognizing January 2022 as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Indiana.
Bartlett and McNamara were joined by representatives and supporters of the Indiana Youth Services Association, which houses the Indiana Trafficking Victims Assistance Program (ITVAP):
- Kenneth Allen, Program Director of ITVAP
- Megan Leahy, IYSA Board President
- Whitney Nixon, IYSA Service Provider Support Director
- John Griffin, Account Manager for Emmis Communications
House Concurrent Resolution 4 aims to promote education and raise awareness that will allow all Hoosiers the opportunity to stand with survivors of human trafficking. It also reiterates the importance of believing survivors and providing them with a voice.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline ranked Indiana as 21st in the nation for the highest reports of human trafficking as of December 2020, with a total of 514 reports of suspected human trafficking incidents.
“Human trafficking is a major public health, human rights, economic justice and social justice issue that has touched all of our 92 counties,” Bartlett said. “And yet, we never hear about it. In that silence, human trafficking has flourished. It is imperative that legislators and advocates come together, as we have today, to give a voice to those affected by modern-day slavery and to pass comprehensive legislation to protect our communities from this very real danger.”
House Bill 1081-2022, authored by McNamara and co-authored by Bartlett and State Rep. Sharon Negele (R-Attica), addresses many legal definitions and criminal penalties in order to crack down on human trafficking in Indiana. The legislation has been assigned to the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code.
“The human trafficking industry is worth an estimated $150 billion worldwide and yet this vile criminal enterprise is still invisible to many,” McNamara said. “We must keep raising awareness and pass stronger legislation to provide greater protections to victims who are bought and sold throughout Indiana and the world.”
If you suspect someone may be a victim of human trafficking, please report it to your local law enforcement or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-800-373-7888.
About the Indiana Trafficking Victims Assistance Program (ITVAP):
The Indiana Trafficking Victims Assistance Program (ITVAP) provides education and awareness to youth service organizations, health care, education, and law enforcement professionals, and community groups about human trafficking in order to increase recognition of victims in all 92 counties. This program also identifies and trains a statewide network of service providers enabling them to provide services specific to victims of human trafficking. Our statewide partners include the Indiana State Police, Indiana University School of Public Health Bloomington, IPATH, and Safe Place.
For more information ITVAP, please contact Michele Whelchel, Chief Advancement Officer for the Indiana Youth Services Association, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-966-8399.