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Title: Kamenetz Announces Human Trafficking Work Group

Commission for Women Sub-Group to Coordinate Education and Criminal Justice Approaches 

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced today that the Baltimore County Commission for Women will establish a cross-functional work group to address the complex issue of human trafficking in coordination with the County’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. The work group will take a victim-centered approach as they work to reduce trafficking and protect victims by providing them with the resources they need in partnership with a variety of organizations, including non-profits and regional counterparts across the state.

"Human trafficking is a horrific practice that has absolutely no place in Baltimore County or anywhere,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “The vulnerable women, children and men who are victimized need our help and protection and we plan to work together to quickly identify actions we can take to address this challenging problem.”

The work group will select a member to be a permanent member of the County’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) and the Chair of the CJCC will approve the membership of the work group, which will be comprised of a team of professionals and individuals from the Commission for Women and representatives from law enforcement, education, social services and the health and legal fields. Individual members must be County residents with a proven history and involvement in public advocacy. 

The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council’s Leadership Role

The CJCC membership includes the Baltimore County Chief of Police, Sheriff, State’s Attorney, Chief Administrative Judges of the Circuit and District Courts, Public Defender, Department of Corrections Director, Director of Health and Human Services, School Superintendent and the Criminal Justice Coordinator; as well as the Regional Director of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services and the Community Supervision Director of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and others.  

The CJCC provides coordinated leadership to establish cohesive criminal justice strategies, policies and programs; identifies deficiencies, and formulates policy, plans and programs for improvement. They also collaborate to maximize resources and raise funds to support criminal justice programs.  

A Focus on Victims

The Human Trafficking Work Group will be committed to a victim-centered approach and is charged with recommending a more comprehensive, specialized and coordinated response to victims’ long-term needs, including a review of coordination related to State policies and protocols.

Commission for Women President, Bella Santos Owens, said, “Six years ago, when only a few were talking in our community about human trafficking, we were already raising awareness on this issue. The Commission for Women knew that behind the silence are the struggles of real human beings. We persisted. We are very proud that an official work group has been formed by the County – upon the Commission’s proposal – dedicated to finding the gaps that exist between human trafficking victim services and policies. This confirms our view that human trafficking is a crime that is in our backyard and needs to be addressed.”

About Human Trafficking

Baltimore County ranks third in Maryland in occurrences of human trafficking, behind Baltimore City and Prince George’s County, according to the Maryland Department of Human Services. The National Human Trafficking Hotline received 30,918 reports in 2016. The International Labor Organization estimates that human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide.

More information about human trafficking is available through the National Human Trafficking Hotline, at 1-888-373-7888, where you can learn about the types and signs of human trafficking.

If someone suspects human trafficking activity in Baltimore County, they are advised to call 9-1-1 to report their concerns. 


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017