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Delaware AG to crack down on human trafficking

Attorney General Human Trafficking
Rebecca Baer
/
Delaware Public Media
Attorney General Kathy Jennings announces new human trafficking unit within the Department of Justice

Those combatting human trafficking say at least 100 people, many of them children, are victims of human trafficking in Delaware every year.

Now, Attorney General Kathy Jennings is taking new steps to fight trafficking, forming the state’s first dedicated human trafficking unit within the Department of Justice.

The unit will include veteran prosecutors from across the state.

But DOJ Family Division Director Abigail Rodgers, who will lead the effort, says success won’t necessarily be measured only by the number of indictments.

"Success will be measured by raising awareness, and prevention and education efforts.  We intend to make this an inhospitable environment for traffickers and will continue to create a healing, supportive and safe environment for our survivors," she said. 

Jennings said 50 people have been arrested for human trafficking in Delaware over the last five years and that’s probably "the tip of the iceberg."

In addition, she says more needs to be done to shut down illicit massage parlors, provide services to victims and educate the community about how to recognize human trafficking.

"...to life everybody in Delaware out of those shadows of doubt, out of those shadows of ignorance and into a world where when they see it and spot it, they report it," Jennings said.

State lawmakers are also advancing a measure that would dedicate $100,000 a year to the Human Trafficking Interagency Coordinating Council.

The Council was formed several years ago to coordinate a state response to human trafficking, but has never had a permanent source of funding.

The measure was released by the House Judiciary Committee last week and is now expected to be considered by the House Appropriations Committee.

Rebecca Baer comes Delaware Public Media from The Florida Channel in Tallahassee where she covered state government and produced documentary features for the series, Florida Crossroads.