State Representative Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, met international diplomats to discuss human trafficking legislation, specifically HB 1105 of Louisiana’s 2014 Regular Session. The five countries represented were Greece, Brazil, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, and Denmark.
They were invited to the United States as part of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. The project’s objectives include a review of U.S. government strategies to combat international trafficking in persons, by examining the formulation, administration, and enforcement of U.S. policy on all levels, as well as examining the roles our governing bodies play in detecting preventing, and prosecuting these crimes. The program will explore initiatives to recognize, protect, and assist victims of abuse and trafficking with recovery and reintegration programs, and investigate international law enforcement cooperation in trafficking cases.
Their discussion with Representative Hodges focused on legislation to combat human trafficking. Rep. Hodges said, “While human trafficking has been an issue plaguing our country and our world for decades, we have made important strides, especially over the last six years. The existence of this international program proves we need to work together, all across the globe to deal with this crisis. I am honored to be part of the important steps being taken, here and abroad to fight human trafficking. Our efforts will not stop here. We will continue to fight for change to end human trafficking.”
The five participants of the program are Ms. Murshid ZAHAN from Bangladesh, Senior Assistant Superintendent of Police, Special Branch, Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Immigration, Mr. Adriano PELUSIO MELGACO JUNIOR from Brazil, Director of Education and Graduate Studies, Civil Police Academy of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Mr. Michael Skafsgaard KLAUSEN from Denmark, Detective Superintendent of the Organized Crime Unit of the Copenhagen Police, Ms. Marina NTONOPOULOU from Greece, Director of Abolish Slavery in the 21st Century, and Mrs. Evelyn Yeama MANNAH from Sierra Leone, Parliamentary Counsel of the Law Officers’ Department of the Ministry of Justice.