JACKSON— Governor Phil Bryant has created a task force to address human trafficking in Mississippi. Human trafficking includes causing another person to engage in prostitution or forced labor or services by enticing, recruiting, harboring, providing, transporting or otherwise obtaining another person by deception, coercion or force.
The task force will meet to examine existing research, and/or to commission new research on the topic of human trafficking. It will also review Mississippi laws, administrative practices and law enforcement training pertaining to the topic. Additionally, the task force will identify opportunities to strengthen Mississippi human trafficking statutes.
“Human trafficking and the people that that fall victim to it are often hard to identify. It’s a serious crime that often is forgotten, even though we know it is happening,” Gov. Bryant said. “By bringing together the relevant individuals from around the state to take a hard look at best practices and put forth recommendations, we will draw closer to putting a stop to this terrible crime in our state.”
The Mississippi Office of Homeland Security will provide appropriate staff and administrative support to assist the group in carrying out its duties. Any other state agency represented on the task force is authorized to provide staff and administrative support, as necessary.
The task force will prepare and submit a report to Gov. Bryant by July 1, 2015. The report will include a summary of findings and final recommendations of the task force to the Governor.
The Task Force shall consist of the following individuals appointed by the Governor:
(a) One member of the Mississippi State Senate
(b) One member of the Mississippi State House of Representatives
(c) The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi or his designee
(d) The Executive Director of the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security or his designee
(e) The Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections or his designee
(f) One Circuit Court Judge
(g) One County Court Judge who has experience handling youth court matters
(h) One District Attorney
(i) One Youth Court Prosecutor from a County Court
(j) A Representative of the Mississippi Department of Education
(k) A Representative of the Mississippi Department of Human Services
(l) A Representative of the Mississippi Department of Health
(m) A Representative of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health
(n) One representative each from the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police and the Mississippi Sheriffs Association with one member being from the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the second from the Southaven area
(o) A Representative from a Non-Government Organization who has been involved in assisting victims of human trafficking
(p) A business leader in Mississippi
(q) At the sole discretion of the Governor, additional members with relevant experience.