You might not realize it…most people don’t. But in cities and towns up and down Interstate I-95, the problem of forced sex slavery, prostitution, and human trafficking is real.
According to a recent The U.S. Justice Department estimate, between 14,500–17,500 people are trafficked into the United States every year, and the 2016 Global Slavery Index estimated that 57,700 people are victims of human trafficking in the United States each year.
With its geographical position between Washington and Baltimore, the Howard County Police Department has their hands full in solving Human Trafficking crimes.
The Kittleman Administration Steps In To Combat Human Trafficking in Howard County
Since taking office in 2014, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has developed a multi-pronged approach to ending human trafficking in Howard County.
“This criminal activity must be confronted aggressively. We will not sit by and allow individuals to be exploited for profit by callous criminals.” – Allan Kittleman
Kittleman created an asset forfeiture fund to assist victims in 2015. Assets seized through Human Trafficking case convictions are divided between a nonprofit agency supporting services to victims and funding ongoing investigations.
In addition to creating this fund, Kittleman added a second full-time undercover police officer to work exclusively on human trafficking investigations and established a Human Trafficking Prevention Coordinating Council. Since then, 25 human trafficking investigations were conducted, resulting in 10 arrests and 25 victims being assisted.
In 2016, Kittleman championed state enabling legislation that allows the Howard County Police Department to better monitor massage parlors suspected of being fronts for prostitution and trafficking. The following year, he sponsored legislation before the Howard County Council to enact this legislation.
In a press statement, Police Chief Gary L. Gardner said, “We know there are businesses in our communities that claim to be legitimate, but are actually victimizing women. We are warning those businesses that this will not be tolerated in Howard County. Expect a visit from police and know that if you are conducting illegal activities, we will shut you down.”
— Andrew Michaels (@Ahm_News) August 28, 2015
Executive Kittleman signs bill assisting police with human trafficking investigations of massage parlors https://t.co/PX1RkQjwgd
— Joseph kavusak (@kbgoldafordable) April 25, 2017
RT @MarylandMorning “We’ll have two full time police officers focused on human trafficking says @HoCoGov County Executive Allan Kittleman”
— Allan Kittleman (@AKittleman) October 2, 2015