Saturday, June 07, 2008

Northern Mariana Recognized for Trafficking Efforts

From the Saipan Tribune:

CNMI Attorney General Matthew T. Gregory has expressed appreciation that the efforts of the CNMI and federal governments have garnered nationwide recognition for their proactive successes. Because of these achievements, the CNMI was selected by Shared Hope International as one of 10 locations in the United States to undergo a domestic human trafficking study of under-age victims funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.

What distinguishes the Commonwealth from many other locations across the region and the globe is that the local law enforcement and social service community have recognized the potential for human trafficking here, and have actively organized their resources to combat it. The CNMI is one of only 10 American communities to form a Human Trafficking Task Force, and has gained recognition for its achievements in recognizing potential problems and organizing against them.

“The CNMI was chosen as a site to review by Shared Hope International not because of an inordinate number of cases in our jurisdiction, but because of the progressive approach the CNMI has taken to identify trafficking, combat its occurrence, and investigate and prosecute wrongdoers,” said Gregory in a statement. “Plans are currently underway by the Task Force to increase public awareness to inform the public and motivate reporting of abuses as they occur.”

The Justice Department recently praised the CNMI and the local U.S. Attorney for their proactive stance against human trafficking. During a meeting of the Task Force held on April 2, 2007, Marie Martinez of the DoJ Office of Victims of Crime applauded the CNMI for being proactive, while other jurisdictions were less willing to prosecute cases. For instance, Hawaii and New York were reporting zero instances of human trafficking, despite its prevalence there.

The Shared Hope International project focuses not on the general picture of human trafficking, but on domestic minor sex trafficking victims, including citizens, legal permanent residents, and Freely Associated State citizens under 18 years old, to improve access to and delivery of services.

Read the full article

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