The same cannot be said of the Indiana General Assembly. Debate on certain topics can sometimes test legislators’ patience, but despite political differences, there are many occasions when both sides can come together and find common ground on important issues.
One of the issues that united politicians on both sides of the aisle this session was the fight against human trafficking. I was proud to lead the charge in this fight by sponsoring Senate Bill (SB) 291. Human trafficking is a very serious problem worldwide. It is estimated that32 billion dollars are spent on this illegal enterprise every year. The disgusting practice raises its ugly head all too often during major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl.
In 2012, the General Assembly worked proactively together in order to protect the thousands of visitors who came to Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI by significantly increasing penalties against human trafficking. The year before, when the Super Bowl was hosted in Houston, the Texas Attorney General’s office reported 133 arrests related to prostitution and trafficking.
It was necessary for Indiana to start taking action. While the legislation passed in 2012 was a great start, there was more work to be done. Under current Indiana law, the Attorney General is not given the same authority as law enforcement to access, maintain or investigate evidence human trafficking violations.
When tackling such a heinous crime, it is essential to use every tool in our arsenal. By giving the Attorney General the same authority on this matter as law enforcement, Indiana will improve its efforts to stamp out human trafficking in our state. Since 2005, there have been 112 confirmed cases of human trafficking in Indiana. It is crucial that the Attorney General be allowed to coordinate with other agencies to fight against this evil.
I was very happy to sponsor SB 291 to broaden the authority of the Attorney General and improve the efficiency of our state’s law enforcement efforts. More than that, I was humbled to lead on a bill that unified members of both parties behind a worthwhile cause.
I believe that civil debate is a healthy part of a representative democracy. I also believe that the public expects us to work together for the good of our state. I am proud to be part of a body that honors the public’s trust.
Rep. Cox serves a portion of Allen County.