New state-wide outreach programs have helped more than 15 child victims of human trafficking in the past five months alone, according to the governor’s office. Last year, nearly 80 victims received services from the state.
Those numbers were some of the highlights of Monday's Second Annual Conference on Combating Human Trafficking in Maryland, in which more than 400 stakeholders and representatives of local, state and national organizations got together to discuss efforts to battle this crime, which is alive in Maryland.
“Working together with all of our partners in law enforcement, we’ve assembled quite a collection of public servants and leaders in the fight against human trafficking,” Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a statement.
Public servants fighting human trafficking can lead to arrests such as that of Jeremy Naughton who, according to the US State’s Attorney for the District of Maryland, .”
Naughton's arrest was the result of multiple agencies working together, according to U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, including the Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force;the FBI and local police departments.
“If we make better choices about how to use and share data, pass stronger laws to go after traffickers and continue to be proactive in our law enforcement efforts and victim outreach, we will get better results for our most vulnerable people," O'Malley's statement read.
Rosenstein made opening remarks at the conference, which is a partnership of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention; the Human Trafficking Task Force; TurnAround, Inc.; Maryland Association of Resources for Families & Youth; Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault; and Araminta Freedom Initiative.
According to O'Malley: "The most sacred duty of any government is to promote the safety of our people."