The same week Gov. Larry Hogan announced Maryland’s first anti-human trafficking director, a report placed the state eighth in the country for number of active trafficking cases in federal court.
There were 24 cases in U.S. District Court in 2017, according to The Human Trafficking Institute, a nonprofit that compiled federal data and court documents to make its findings. Of the 21 criminal cases, all involve sex trafficking (as opposed to labor trafficking).
The report described human trafficking as “an economically-motivated crime where traffickers compel people to work or to engage in commercial sex acts.”
Hogan announced the creation of an anti-human trafficking director in August. Laurie Culkin, whose appointment was announced Tuesday, will work as part of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention to coordinate support services for victims and enforcement activities for traffickers.
“Human trafficking is a despicable crime and we are determined to root it out wherever it occurs in our state,” Hogan said in a statement. “One of our most important responsibilities is to protect Maryland citizens, and this position is vital to establishing statewide coordination to prevent human trafficking and provide support for its victims.”
Culkin previously served as the Human Traffic Prevention Project Coordinator for the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service in Baltimore.
“The governor has made fighting human trafficking a priority and one in which he has focused his attention and resources,” Culkin said in a statement. “It is my honor to be a part of this effort.”