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Mena, Arkansas, News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Arkansas law enforcement implements new tools to fight human trafficking

January 11, 2024

The Arkansas Human Trafficking Council (AHTC) met on Thursday, January 4, 2024, and implemented new human trafficking identification tools to support human trafficking victims and to prevent and prosecute human trafficking.  The council also adopted new law enforcement policies, procedures, and protocols.

January is Human Trafficking Month, and January 11th is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Both offer an opportunity to educate the public, spread awareness and encourage action to protect survivors of all forms of human trafficking.

The new ID tools adopted by the council will include a three-level approach: a rapid assessment, an in-depth background assessment, and a comprehensive assessment for interviewing victims. This is the first step to helping victims escape human trafficking.

The tools may be viewed HERE.

The first level is a rapid assessment with eight or fewer questions designed to quickly identify potential victims and provide immediate assistance. This can be used by law enforcement, first responders, guidance counselors, and essential frontline individuals who have brief encounters or sporadic interactions with potential victims.

The second level can be used to assess a situation by analyzing history and background information. This consists of an assessment completed by a reporting individual based on their knowledge of the victim’s background and behavior. A background assessment would identify any red flags that may indicate trafficking without interviewing a possible victim.

Level three would be the most comprehensive assessment designed to directly interact with the potential victim, allowing them to disclose in a private, safe, confidential manner.

The council also created a Human Trafficking Coordinated Response Hub—aimed at centralizing support services, empowering local law enforcement, and protecting victims.

The workgroup adopted new state human trafficking protocols to address the problem in a more efficient, effective, and uniform manner. These protocols will expand resource availability, increase offender prosecution rates, improve victim support services, and enhance protections for victims.

The Human Trafficking Prevention, Education, and Training workgroup compiled a list of updated local, state, and national resources for human trafficking training and educational materials. This list is designed to provide training and educational resources for students, parents, counselors, and school personnel. This will supplement materials promoted by the Arkansas Center for School Safety of the Criminal Justice Institute as required by the LEARNS Act.  In addition, individuals who regularly engage with Arkansas’ human trafficking protocols will undergo routine training and be notified of any updates or changes to the protocols.

The AHTC is implementing four services to identify all forms of human trafficking; to provide all victims access to services, to investigate and prosecute human trafficking cases at the local, state, and federal levels, and to address individualized service needs through a comprehensive array of service providers.

The AHTC is a collaboration of the Department of Public Safety Division of Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, and the Department of Human Services Division of Children and Family Services providing comprehensive services to trafficking victims.

To request protocols and the assessment tools, contact Sergeant Matthew Foster, Human Trafficking Coordinator, at

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