A new report from the Office of the Attorney General and Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking shows that, while human trafficking remains a pervasive problem in Indiana, the state has improved its strategies to reduce human trafficking and assist trafficking survivors.

Human trafficking is the use or threat of force, fraud or coercion to compel an individual to engage in commercial sex, marriage, labor or services. In 2019, 157 Indiana human trafficking cases were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline – a 19% increase from 2018. Of the 157 cases reported in 2019 in Indiana, 40 of those involved minors, according to the report.

However, those numbers only reflect reports to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Because Indiana does not have a centralized reporting mechanism, there is no data that comprehensively illustrates the scope of human trafficking in the state.

Reports from service providers indicate that the scope of human trafficking in Indiana is far greater than data from the national hotline indicates. Ascent 121, an Indiana agency that specializes in working with survivors of sex trafficking, provided services for 117 minors in Indiana in 2019.

“It is reasonable to suspect that human trafficking in Indiana is a much more widespread problem than available data demonstrates,” Attorney General Curtis Hill said. “While our partners in combatting this scourge have made noticeable progress in serving trafficking victims and holding traffickers accountable, there is clearly more we can do.”

Attorney General Hill also commends the Indiana General Assembly for passing legislation that supports trafficking survivors and addresses trafficking in other ways. Since the 2016 report about human trafficking in Indiana was released, the General Assembly has passed five key pieces of anti-trafficking legislation.

Attorney General Hill also applauds the law enforcement officials who have had success in holding traffickers accountable for their crimes. In October 2019, for example, Krisean Porter was convicted of human trafficking, promoting prostitution, and sexual misconduct with a minor in Marion County. According to Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears, Porter “physically and emotionally abused a vulnerable child for his personal gain.”

“The 2020 Indiana State Report on Human Trafficking shows good progress made by hundreds of partners across the state in addressing human trafficking. The priority now is to continue the momentum,” said Tracey Horth Krueger, Chief Executive Officer of the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking. “We must ensure that survivors have access to services while we increase our knowledge about the root causes of trafficking so we can end it.”

The full report summarizes national and state laws regarding human trafficking, efforts Indiana is taking to combat human trafficking, warning signs that someone is engaged in human trafficking, legal remedies available to human trafficking victims, successful criminal prosecutions around Indiana, and additional actions the state can take to reduce human trafficking.