State attorneys general are joining in a campaign against what they say has become a devastating and pervasive problem in the U.S. and the world’s fastest-growing criminal enterprise — human trafficking, says the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Tennessee just became one of six states to pass a law barring prosecution of minors for prostitution because they are victims, not criminals. At a meeting in Chicago, Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna urged all states to pass such laws.
McKenna said three years ago, he thought human trafficking was a crime that happened overseas to other people’s children. He he soon learned that trafficking for labor or sex is widespread in America and is now considered the world’s No. 2 crime behind drug trafficking. “The problem of trafficking is real and around us,” McKenna said. “It’s modern-day slavery.” The U.S. State Department estimates that 1 million minors are exploited annually by the global sex trade. McKenna took office Monday as the president of the National Association of Attorneys General. In Chicago, he launched his 2011-12 presidential initiative: “Pillars of Hope: Attorneys General Unite to Combat Human Trafficking.” Human trafficking for labor or sex is now a $32 billion global industry, he said. Some estimates say that 100,000 American minors are the victims of sex trafficking each year.