Wis. AG wants to fight child trafficking
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen wants to make ending child trafficking a priority in the new year.
“When I think of (this happening to) an infant or toddler, it is not just disgusting, it’s the worst form of torture I can imagine,” he told the State Journal (http://bit.ly/VkUgg7). “It makes me angry.”
Van Hollen asked for more than $900,000 to put toward the effort as part of his two-year budget request for the state Department of Justice, which was submitted to Gov. Scott Walker in September.
It would be used to hire five full-time employees, including three special agents and two criminal analysts, who would specifically work to fight child sex trafficking.
Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said the governor’s office is reviewing Van Hollen’s budget request.
Van Hollen also wants to hold more training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and victim and witness coordinators and to work with lawmakers to draft human trafficking-related legislation.
It is estimated that as many as 27 million women, children and men around the world are victims of human trafficking, according to the U.S. Department of State’s 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report.
Van Hollen spokeswoman Dana Brueck said the department doesn’t have statistics on the scope of the problem in Wisconsin, but said “it would be naive to conclude that there wasn’t trafficking happening in Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin already has an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which has been administered through the state Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation since it was created in 1999. So far, 181 local law enforcement agencies have become part of the task force.
But the task force needs to augment its current work to prevent, investigate and prosecute child sex trafficking, according to the DOJ’s budget request.