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Commission: Modern-Day Slavery Profiting in NH

November 10, 2008

Concord, NH – Modern-day slavery is alive and well in New Hampshire, according to a new legislative commission report that looks at human trafficking for sexual or labor exploitation.

Jennifer Durant with the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence is a member of the Statewide Interagency Commission on Human Trafficking, which issued the report.

She says it can be a tough crime to investigate because victims are so often hidden from view as they work in homes, agricultural industries, brothels, or even strip clubs. She adds that most victims are trapped in the sex trade, and they're mostly women and children.

"It could be children who are runaways, or neglected children. Some are women who live in poverty and are promised a better life."

Durant says although some evidence shows many are immigrants, a recent federal raid rescued 47 American children who were forced into prostitution.

New Hampshire lacks specific laws against human trafficking, which the commission believes encourages the crime.

"We do not want to be a safe haven for traffickers. There are 30 other states that have statutes that define trafficking in criminal law."

Besides specific state laws to address human trafficking, the commission is recommending more public awareness, coordination of services to address the needs of victims, and data collection coordinated with prosecutors and law enforcement.

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - NH