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Media > News Releases > February 2023 > AG Yost and his Colleagues Call on Congress to Force National Human Trafficking Hotline to Meet its

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AG Yost and his Colleagues Call on Congress to Force National Human Trafficking Hotline to Meet its Promises


(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and 35 other attorneys general sent a letter this week to congressional leaders informing them of their grave concerns about the National Human Trafficking Hotline and asking them to help improve the critical joint federal-state effort to end trafficking.

“Without proper data, we don’t know how large of a problem we’re facing,” Yost said. “Tips from the national hotline need to get to local law enforcement quickly, as they are the boots on the ground who are making an impact in this fight.” 

Since 2007, the nonprofit organization Polaris has operated the national hotline with funding authorized by Congress. Many states rely on the hotline for tips regarding trafficking, allowing local law enforcement agencies to arrest traffickers, safely recover victims, and uncover evidence of trafficking rings and operations.

It was recently discovered, however, that Polaris forwards tips about adult victims only in limited circumstances – which contradicts what Polaris advertises. In some cases, states have discovered a delay of several months before the tips were even shared.

Many states, federal agencies and organizations have actively encouraged the public to use the hotline in order to gather additional intelligence on trafficking operations, disrupt these criminal activities and recover victims. But these newly discovered Polaris practices dramatically diminish the hotline’s value.  

“The hotline is not performing the services it is already funded to perform,” the attorneys general wrote in their letter to congressional leaders. “Without changes to Polaris’ operating procedures, our state anti-trafficking initiatives gain little from participation in the national hotline. As such, individual states may be forced to establish their own state hotlines, as some already have begun to do.

“A nationally run hotline not only achieves cost efficiencies but also ensures a uniform approach and allows for the collection of cross-state information with regard to human trafficking tips.”

The attorneys general urged Congress to compel Polaris to promptly forward tips about suspected human trafficking of adults to the corresponding state’s law enforcement officials for evaluation and response to ensure victim safety.

The letter states, “We cannot afford to lose the benefits of this federal-state partnership to end trafficking.”

Joining Yost on the letter were the attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Kelly May: 614-813-7419


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