In a triumph of grassroots politics, community members, and politicians have come together to fight sex trafficking on the local level. We are proud to say that Indiana and Indianapolis are taking a stand against this modern form of slavery with Senate Bill 4. In this two-part blog post, I will explain the origins of this local initiative, the importance of Senate Bill 4, and the issue of sex trafficking more generally.
Longtime community leader Kai Binford met former Washington State Congresswoman Linda Smith in Arizona earlier this year. As the founder and leader of Shared Hope International, a non-profit that fights the sex trafficking of children all over the world, Linda opened Kai’s eyes to how much of this evil practice occurs right here in the United States—including Indianapolis. Kai also learned that major sporting events—like the Super Bowl—tend to attract this sort of criminal activity and that victims are brought to cities such as ours for this purpose. Kai said, “Not in my town,” and she encouraged Linda Smith to come to Indianapolis.
Kai called together a group of women leaders, including Abigail Kuzma, founder of the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic and a department head in the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, to discuss a plan of action to fight sex trafficking on the local level. Senate Bill 4 is a direct result of the hard work of these women.
Along with partners like The Women’s Fund and Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis is approaching this issue on two fronts. First, we will be public advocates for Senate Bill 4—legislation that has been fast tracked by the Governor’s office to increase the penalties for sex trafficking. Second, we will be making additions to some of our curriculum concerning personal safety. Because girls from all walks of life are entrapped and exploited by traffickers, we will help girls recognize and avoid situations that are used to lure victims.
Please join us in saying “No!” to sex trafficking in our community. Senate Bill 4 has been unanimously passed in the Senate but awaits a full vote in the House. Please contact your state representative today!