Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Human Trafficking: Arkansas rated as one of the "Faltering Four"

Today, Polaris Project released its 2012 State Ratings on human trafficking laws.  Arkansas was rated as one of the "Faltering Four" due to its lack of "a basic legal framework to combat human trafficking."

Senator Jason Rapert, Senator Missy Irvin, Representative Greg Leding and myself are working in conjunction with the Attorney General's office, and other stakeholders to strengthen our laws.  Legislation has been drafted and we are working to make sure it has broad support so that it can be passed in the 2013 session.

Here is a link to the Polaris Project ratings map: http://www.polarisproject.org/what-we-do/policy-advocacy/current-laws

Here is a link to the specific Arkansas State report: http://na4.salesforce.com/sfc/p/300000006E4S95crKiEvYLHxr2rVvrb54s0U1gA=

Here is a link to the legislation that has been drafted: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2012F/Pages/ISPIRDetail.aspx?ispid=2011-219

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at david.meeks@arkansashouse.org

*About Polaris Project*
Polaris Project is one of the leading organizations in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Named after the North Star "Polaris" that guided slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project is transforming the way that individuals and communities respond to human trafficking, in the U.S. and globally. By successfully pushing for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888), conducting trainings, and providing vital services to victims of trafficking, Polaris Project creates long-term solutions that move our society closer to a world without slavery. Learn more at www.polarisproject.org 

Monday, August 6, 2012

For Immediate Release: *Polaris Project to Release 2012 Annual Ratings on State Human Trafficking Laws*

If you are a member of the Arkansas media or the state legislature please contact me and I can forward you the information for the conference call tomorrow. My personal email is dmeeks72@gmail.com. Phone: 501-277-9340. All others please use the contact information below.

I have accepted the invitation and will be speaking on the conference call about what Arkansas is doing to strengthen it's anti-human trafficking laws. David

*AUGUST 3, 2012*

*CONTACT*: Megan Fowler, 202-540-5231

**Telephone Briefing, Tuesday, August 7, 2012, 1:00PM CDT**

*Polaris Project to Release 2012 Annual Ratings on State Human Trafficking

*Washington, DC* - On August 7, 2012 at 1:00pm CDT, Polaris Project will release its 2012 State Ratings on human trafficking laws via a telephone briefing from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit in Chicago, IL. Polaris Project has rated all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on ten categories of laws that are critical to a basic legal framework that combats human trafficking, punishes traffickers and supports survivors. Each state is placed in one of four tiers based on whether it has passed legislation in each of the ten categories.

Attorney General Martha Coakley of Massachusetts; Holly Smith, a human trafficking survivor and activist; lawmakers from the Virginia and Arkansas state legislatures will join Polaris Project to discuss which states have passed significant laws, which states are faltering, and how such laws make a substantial impact in fighting human trafficking in communities across the United States.

*WHAT:* Launch of Polaris Project's 2012 State Ratings Map on Human Trafficking Laws from the National Conference of State Legislatures Legislative summit in Chicago, IL

*WHO:* Mary Ellison, Director of Policy, Polaris Project
Martha Coakley, Massachusetts Attorney General
Holly Smith, Human Trafficking Survivor and Activist
Arkansas State Representative David Meeks (*invited*)
Virginia State Senator Adam Ebbin (*invited*)

*WHEN:* Tuesday, August 7, 2012
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm CDT (2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT)

*RSVP:* Please RSVP for this call by sending your name, email address, outlet and state to mfowler@polarisproject.org.
For additional information, or if you would like to attend the launch in person in Chicago, please contact Megan Fowler at mfowler@polarisproject.org or 202-540-5231.
To report a tip, connect with anti-trafficking services in your area, or request information, call The National Human Trafficking Resource Center at: 1-888-3737-888.

*About Polaris Project**Polaris Project is one of the leading organizations in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Named after the North Star "Polaris" that guided slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project is transforming the way that individuals and communities respond to human trafficking, in the U.S. and globally. By successfully pushing for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888), conducting trainings, and providing vital services to victims of trafficking, Polaris Project creates long-term solutions that move our society closer to a world without slavery. Learn more at www.polarisproject.org

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Awareness into Action: Arkansas' First Ever Human Trafficking Summit!

Human Trafficking IS happening right here in Arkansas.  The recent bust of a sex-trafficking ring headquartered in Little Rock is just one example of how this modern form of slavery has made its way into our state.  People from all across our state are coming together to combat it.  We are excited about holding our first ever Arkansas Human Trafficking Summit next week in Little Rock.  This summit will focus on taking action to end Human Trafficking in our state.  We will have representatives from national human trafficking groups Polaris Project and Shared Hope coming in to talk about how we can strengthen our laws and build a stronger coalition. We hope you will join us.

Here is the schedule for the first ever Arkansas Human Trafficking Summit to be held Tuesday, June 26th and Wednesday, June 27th. All events are free and open to public and press.  

State Capitol
10a: Welcome/Press Conference  (Old Supreme Court Room)

Scheduled Speakers include:
Lt Governor Mark Darr
Bart Dickinson- Attorney General's office
Representatives from National Groups Polaris Project and Shared Hope
Local Groups

1p: Legislative Committee Hearings.  (Rm151, 1st floor)
Complete Agenda can be found at this link:  http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/Lists/Meetings/Attachments/16971/I10303.pdf

First Baptist Church, LR (Fellowship Hall)
7-8:30p: Human Trafficking Forum: A film by Shared Hope, breakout session, and a panel for questions and answers.

First Baptist Church, LR (Fellowship Hall)
Coalition Building Workshop 8:30p-3:30p (Registration table opens at 8:00 am).
This is a day long seminar by Polaris Project.

To register for the Tuesday night forum and/or the Wednesday Workshop please visit:  http://artraffickingsummit.eventbrite.com/

Related News Stories and Statistics:

Feds: Sex-trafficking ring used Backpage.com ads (Ring was HQ'd here in LR) http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20120524/NEWS02/705249806
Little Rock to get first shelter for Human Trafficking Victims: http://www.katv.com/story/18684640/arkansas-to-get-first-shelter-for-human-trafficking-victims
Some human trafficking reported in NEA 
Local organizations join forces to combat trafficking in Arkansas. http://www.syncweekly.com/news/2012/feb/14/walking-path/

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thank you!

I want to say Thank you to everyone for your support and for overwhelming voting to re-elect me as the Republican Nominee for District 70.

Thank you to those that prayed. Thank you to the many volunteers who waved a sign, went door to door or made a phone call.  Thank you to those who donated whatever amount they could.

Winning the primary gives us the momentum we need to win in November.  The stakes are now much higher and I am committed to working hard to make sure our conservative message gets to all the voters of District 70.

I hope you will join me as we continue to fight to make Arkansas a better place to work and live.

Here to Serve,
David Meeks

Monday, May 21, 2012

What You Can Do to Help Get Out the Vote!

We are now the last 36 hours of the campaign.  We have gotten our conservative message out to the voters.

Now it is critical they get out and vote.  Here is what you can do to help us in last few hours.

1) Pray
2) Wave Signs:  Today- Stand on a busy street corner (Dave Ward, Hogan or Salem are good places)
Tomorrow- Polling Places (Peace Lutheran on Dave Ward, McGee Center on Prince, or Grace United Methodist Church on Hogan).  I will be at the McGee Center all day on election day.
3) Make Phone Calls and Email those in District 70. I have attached a map of District 70 to help you identify those voters you may know in the district.

Please join us for an election night watch party starting at 7p at Larry's Pizza in downtown Conway.

Here to Serve,
David Meeks

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What My Opponent Hopes Conservatives Don't See

House District 70 Candidate Comparison

Rep David Meeks
Price Dooley
Gun Rights: NRA Grade
A (Solidly Pro-Gun)
D- (Anti-gun) (1)
Same Sex Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions
Undecided (2)
Blocking Obamacare
Sponsored Legislation/Voted multiple times against funding healthcare exchange
“There is nothing a state legislator can do, ultimately…” (3)
States Rights
Support: Co-sponsored resolution
Unsure.  See Above.
Military Service
Yes-Honorable Discharge
Arkansas Right to Life

No Climate Tax Pledge (4)
Signed/ Record of voting against every tax and fee increase.
Not signed (As of  5/10/12)

In addition Price Dooley has voted in Democratic Primaries going back to at least 2004.  So the question he should answer is who did he vote for in 2008?  Barack Obama or Hilary Clinton?  Who did he vote for in 2010? Blanche Lincoln or Bill Halter?  Did he vote for Joyce Elliot for Congress?

If he is voting for the party will he continue to vote with the Democrats?  If he was voting values what values does he have common with all the liberals listed above?

 I have a solid conservative record in the legislature and I will continue to fight for hardworking Arkansas taxpayers.  I will remain focused on important issues like job creation, spending cuts, and working on comprehensive legislation to combat Human Trafficking.

I ask the voters of District 70 to reject the negative smear campaign being run by my opponent and vote to return a proven, solid conservative to the legislature.

As always, you may contact me at david.meeks@arkansashouse.org


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Let's Focus on the Issues

There is a proverb that I was taught growing up and  strive to live by:  "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold." (Proverbs 22:1)

So it’s troubling when my opponent wants to avoid his record and  instead attempt to discredit me with false accusations. 

The reality is I’ve been a strong conservative legislator.  I’ve stood against Obamacare.  I’ve fought for ethics reform.  I’ve been engaged in the concern over our shortfall in Medicaid.  I voted for millions of dollars in tax cuts and focused on job creation.  Throughout this campaign I have stayed focused on vital issues that are important to Arkansas families.

Predictably my opponent has resorted to false personal attacks because he knows I’ve kept my promises and he can’t match my credentials. Slinging the proverbial mud to distract you from the real concerns we face.

The fact he received a D minus rating from the NRA is just one example of how his stance on an issue does not match up with that of the majority of Arkansans.

He also believes Arkansans should just accept Obamacare because, in his own words, “there is nothing a state legislature can do” to protect Arkansans from overreaching government. 

I encourage my opponent to stop the negativity and start telling voters why he would be a conservative voice for Conway.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Reaction to the AG's Opinion on the Contraception Mandate

Late yesterday the Attorney General issued an opinion on two questions I had concerning the contraception mandate.  You can find the complete opinion here:  http://ag.arkansas.gov/opinions/docs/2012-043.html

Here is the bottom line of that opinion: "Second, the Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution requires that any valid federal law will override a conflicting state law. Accordingly, if the regulation is a valid federal law, then any conflicting state laws—whether they be regulatory, statutory, or constitutional—will be preempted"

This should bring concern to all Arkansans.  If Obamacare is upheld and we go forward with implementing the healthcare exchanges we will be subject to whatever regulations HHS puts into place regardless of whether it is good for Arkansas or is in line with our values.

I believe this latest mandate is an assault on not only our states rights but also on our religious freedoms and will work diligently to fight against it.

I stand with the majority of Arkansans who oppose this encroachment on our freedoms. I stand with Cardinal Dolan, Pastor Rick Bezet and the others of faith who have said they will not comply with this mandate.  I hope you will stand with us.

Here to Serve,
David Meeks

Monday, March 26, 2012

Attorney General's Opinion on the Contraception Mandate

Recently the Obama administration mandated that all contraception, including abortion-inducing drugs be included in healthcare plans. This raised the question about whether there were any state laws that might come into conflict with the mandate.  After doing some preliminary research, I have found several state statues that may be in conflict with the new mandate.

To that end, I have sent over a request to the Attorney General to get an opinion.  The wording of the opinion and the research can be found below. Thank you to Representatives Kim Hammer and Lori Benedict for signing on to the opinion.

If you know of any other statues that may be in conflict with the new mandate, please contact me at david.meeks@arkansashouse.org

Here to Serve,
David Meeks


Dear General McDaniel:

I am writing to request your official opinion on the following questions.

1) Would any state statutes and/or amendments, including those I have enclosed with this request, conflict with the Contraception Mandate?

2) Based on Arkansas Constitutional Amendment 68, would the Contraception Mandate prohibit the legislature from appropriating money to entities that may dispense abortion-inducing drugs listed in the mandate?

If there is any way you might expedite your response to this question, it would be greatly appreciated 


---->Amendment 2 § 24. Religious liberty.

 "All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can, of right, be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship; or to maintain any ministry against his consent. No human authority can, in any case or manner whatsoever, control or interfere with the right of conscience; and no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment, denomination or mode of worship, above any other."

---->Amendment 68 I have been told that a possibility exists Amendment 68 could affect certain grants to hospitals, because we appropriate the money. On a separate note, others I have talked to said that the State Employee Health Insurance probably wouldn't be affected by the Mandate and Amendment 68 because it is considered to be self funded.

State Statues:

---->20-16-601  This deals with abortion and would come into play if they required a physician to administer an abortion inducing drug.

---->23-79-510: (2)  EXCLUSIONS.  Subject to the contractual policy form language adopted by the board, the following services, supplies, drugs, or articles whether prescribed by a physician or not shall not be covered:
                    (R)  Any expense or charge for oral contraceptives used for birth control or any other temporary birth control measures;

Subchapter 11
Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act

23-79-1101. Title.

This subchapter shall be known and may be cited as the Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act.

23-79-1102. Definitions.

As used in this subchapter:
               (1)(A)  Health benefit policy means an individual or group plan, policy, or contract for health care services issued, delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state, including those contracts executed by the State of Arkansas on behalf of state employees, by a health care corporation, health maintenance organization, preferred provider organization, accident and sickness insurer, fraternal benefit society, hospital service corporation, medical service corporation, provider-sponsored health care corporation, or other insurer or similar entity.
                               (B)  Health benefit policy does not include:
                                               (i)  Accident-only, credit, specified disease, dental, hospital indemnity, Medicare supplement, long-term care, or disability income insurance policies;
                                               (ii)  Coverage issued as a supplement to liability insurance;
                                               (iii)  Workers' compensation or similar insurance; or
                                               (iv)  Automobile medical-payment insurance;
               (2)  Insurer means an accident and sickness insurer, fraternal benefit society, hospital service corporation, medical service corporation, health care corporation, health maintenance organization, or any similar entity authorized to issue contracts under Title 23 of this Code; and
               (3)  Religious employer means an entity that:
                               (A)  Is organized and operated for religious purposes and has received a section 501(c)(3) designation from the Internal Revenue Service;
                               (B)  Has as one (1) of its primary purposes the inculcation of religious values; and
                               (C)  Employs primarily persons who share its religious tenets.

23-79-1103. Parity for contraceptives.

(a)  Every health benefit policy that is delivered, issued, executed, or renewed in this state or approved for issuance or renewal in this state by the Insurance Commissioner on or after August 12, 2005, that provides coverage for prescription drugs on an outpatient basis shall provide coverage for prescribed drugs or devices approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use as a contraceptive.
---->(b)  Nothing contained in this subchapter shall be construed to require any insurance company to provide coverage for an abortion, an abortifacient, or any United States Food and Drug Administration-approved emergency contraception.

23-79-1104. Extraordinary surcharges prohibited.

(a)  No insurer shall impose upon any person receiving prescription contraceptive benefits pursuant to this subchapter any:
               (1)  Copayment, coinsurance payment, or fee that is not equally imposed upon all individuals in the same benefit category, class, coinsurance level, or copayment level receiving benefits for prescription drugs; or
               (2)  Reduction in allowable reimbursement for prescription drug benefits.
(b)  This subchapter shall not be construed to:
               (1)  Require coverage for prescription coverage benefits in any contract, policy, or plan that does not otherwise provide coverage for prescription drugs;
               (2)(A)  Preclude the use of closed formularies.
                               (B)  However, the formularies shall include oral, implant, and injectable contraceptive drugs, intrauterine devices, and prescription barrier methods; or 
  ------->  (3)  Require any religious employer to comply with this subchapter.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Washington Politics in the Arkansas House

Today, the Senate voted against suspending the rules to consider the Trucker Tax Repeal resolution so the issue was dead right?  Wrong!

The House Democrats proposed an amendment to the DFA-Disbursing appropriation that would push back the start of the Trucker Tax Exemption to July 2013. The amendment only needed 51 votes to be attached to the appropriation (vs the 67 needed for the resolution).  It was passed via a voice vote then something very interesting happened.

Several members of the House called for a roll call vote.  A couple of seconds afterwards, a member called for a vote by division.  The Speaker of the House ignored the call for a roll call vote and proceeded with the vote by division.

The vote by division is simply members standing and being counted.  It is a way to vote and not have it recorded.

Yes, you read that right.  Democrats didn't want to go on record as to whether they voted for this amendment or not.

If you want to see if your Representative stood or not, here is a link to the video: http://arkansas-house.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=719

The actual standing vote takes place at about the 19 min mark.

What happened today set a dangerous precedent and should have been outright rejected.  The voters in Arkansas wanted the legislature to focus on the budget during the fiscal session. There was a specific way  outlined for other issues outside of the normal fiscal avenue to be addressed.  What happened today was not the way.

The next couple of days will be interesting to watch.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fiscal Session Update- Week of February 13th

No one knows what goes on behind closed doors, until someone has the courage to force them open. During week one of the Fiscal Session, Republican lawmakers opened the doors of state government by giving the traditionally Democratic-controlled, behind the curtain state budgeting process a kick in the teeth.

Rather than blindly consenting to Gov. Mike Beebe’s budget, Republican lawmakers offered a more conservative state budget proposal which would be $21 million smaller than the Governor’s $4.72 billion general revenue budget for 2013.

House Concurrent Resolution 1008 was filed on Monday to allow a budget alternative to be considered by the majority-Democrat House Rules Committee, yet legislators across the aisle refused to consider our trimmer budget plan.  During the Fiscal Session, a two-thirds vote is required to pass a resolution so that non-appropriation bills like the state budget, also known as the Revenue Stabilization Act (RSA), can be considered and voted on by the General Assembly.  

Battles for efficiency in the way our state spends taxpayer money are battles well fought for the people of Arkansas. With the over half a million dollars recently discovered in one state agency to rescue the drowning state Forestry Commission from a budget shortfall, it’s clear there are meaningful spending reductions to be made, we just have to be willing to find them.

Our Republican budget proposal would reduce some state agency funding levels by 3 percent less than what the Governor has proposed.  As a result, we’re asking agency directors to find where they can operate with less money.  When Arkansas families tighten their belts, government bureaucrats need to as well.  

Asking state agencies to do more with less not only ensures taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely, but also helps our state prepare for the looming $250 million Medicaid shortfall projected for next fiscal year. Because roughly 25 percent of Arkansans are currently enrolled in Medicaid, with that number expected to grow due to President Obama’s health care law, we must be proactive in guaranteeing the money will be there when Arkansas families need it most.

Hardworking Arkansas taxpayers deserve a more responsible, transparent government, but the Democratic-controlled legislature is defiant to change. Both political parties should be given an opportunity to bring constructive ideas and input to the table so that we can reach an agreement and pass a bi-partisan budget that benefits the citizens of this state.

Moving forward, I will keep you updated on our budget proposal and how we are working to reduce spending and protect the benefits of Medicaid.

As I continue to serve you during the Fiscal Session, my focus remains on holding state government accountable to the taxpayers of Arkansas. Please contact me with any issues, questions or concerns you may have. My email is david.meeks@arkansashouse.org

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rep. David Meeks Joins Supreme Court Brief Challenging Obamacare

Rep. David Meeks Joins Supreme Court Brief Challenging Obamacare

Conway, Ark. – On Monday, Republican Rep. David Meeks of Conway joined an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court arguing that the individual mandate found in President Barack Obama's health care law is unconstitutional.

“As a member of the state Legislature, I am committed to seeing that President Obama’s job-killing health care law does not take root in Arkansas,” said Meeks. “In addition to the constitutional question of forcing Arkansans to purchase insurance or face a fine, we have also seen how the health care law is directly attacking the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment.”

Last month, the names of several Democratic leaders in the Arkansas General Assembly surfaced on a Supreme Court brief arguing that Obamacare is constitutional and they “are working hard in their States to implement the Act in a timely, efficient, and effective manner.”

“I wholeheartedly disagree with my Democratic colleagues that we must force Obamacare onto the people of this state, and will continue fighting on behalf of hardworking Arkansas taxpayers,” said Meeks.

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments for Obamacare challenges on March 26, 27 and 28 of 2012.

To read the Supreme Court Brief signed by 58 Arkansas Republican Legislators, click here.

To read the brief signed by Democratic Legislators, click here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Fiscal Session

Here are some things to look for as we start the Pre-Fiscal Session Budget Hearings:

From: http://arkansasnews.com/2012/01/15/despite-agenda-add-ons-legislative-leaders-expect-smooth-budget-hearings/

Healthcare Exchanges: Part 1
Another issue likely to draw attention is a $462,000 contract in the state Insurance Department’s proposed budget to plan what the state’s role will be in a federally mandated health insurance exchange.
Healthcare Exchanges: Part 2
The governor in December said he endorsed the state’s involvement in a partnership with the federal government to implement the exchange in the state.
He also said he signed off on an application by the Insurance Department for a $7.6 million federal grant to plan for implementing the program.
The governor has asked lawmakers to approve $2.7 million in supplemental funding to help offset the commission’s shortfall. About $1.2 million would repay federal government grant money that was inappropriately used by the agency for the ongoing expenses, and about $1.5 million would fund the commission operations through the end of the fiscal year.
Increased Spending

There is an expectation that the Governor's budget will be around $4.7 billion which is an increase of around $155 million from last year's budget.  The bulk of the increase will be Medicaid and Public Schools.

Please feel free to send me your thoughts on these and other issues.  My email is david.meeks@arkansashouse.org

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day- Take Action!

Below you will find links to groups who combating Human Trafficking. This is by no means a complete list. I hope you will pick at least one, find out what they are doing and get involved to help end modern day slavery!


Rush Hour Traffic- http://rushhourtraffic.tv/
P.A.T.H.- http://thepathinitiative.com/


Polaris Project- http://www.polarisproject.org/
Not For Sale- http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/
A21- http://www.thea21campaign.org/who-we-are.php

Monday, January 9, 2012

National Human Trafficking Prevention Day Press Conference

National Human Trafficking Prevention Day- Press Release

Date: January 11th, 1pm
What: National Human Trafficking Prevention Day Press Conference
Where: Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda, 2nd floor
Who: Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, Senator Rapert, Representative Meeks, Representative Leding, Sheriff Doc Holladay, Partners Against Trafficking Humans (PATH), Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), Not for Sale, Catholic Charities, and Rush Hour Traffic.

Legislators, local groups observe National Human Trafficking Prevention Day, Jan. 11

LITTLE ROCK, AR — National Human Trafficking Awareness Day will be observed with a news conference at 1 p.m., Jan. 11, in the 2nd floor Rotunda area of the State Capitol by Arkansas legislators, representatives of local and national anti-human trafficking groups, law enforcement and others who want to help eradicate the problem of modern day slavery.

Legislators represented include Rep. David Meeks, R-Conway, who says that upon researching the problem he found Arkansas to be “shockingly” one of nine states lagging behind in enacting meaningful anti-human trafficking legislation. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, Senator Rapert, R- Conway, and Representative Leding, D- Fayetteville, will also be in attendance and in support of the fight against sex- trafficking in the state of Arkansas.

Through the educational efforts of such local groups as Partners Against Trafficking Humans (PATH) and Rush Hour Traffic and national groups such as Not For Sale and Truckers Against Trafficking (all of which will be represented at the news conference), Meeks found that young women and girls as young as 9 years old are being brutalized and sold for sex right here in Arkansas.

PATH and its sister groups are not just engaged in educating the public about the problem but in providing respite and healing for trafficking victims with a planned shelter and other facilities. 
Unfortunately, says Louise Allison, PATH co-founder, if a human trafficking victim is rescued off the street from her captors, there are no medium- or long-term facilities available.

President Barack Obama has declared January National Human Trafficking Prevention Month and in light of that, legislators, members of local law enforcement, such as Sheriff Doc Holladay and Detective Haskins, and local and national human trafficking groups hope the media and anyone interested will join them at 1 p.m. Jan. 11 to learn more about what has become the second-largest money-making criminal activity in the world and how to stop it.

Human trafficking statistics:
• It’s estimated that there are between 100,000 and 300,000 American children at risk of entering the sex trade each year (Truckers Against Trafficking)

• Victims are hidden in plain sight in the house down the street, at massage parlors, truck stops and rest areas

• The I-40 corridor through Arkansas is a major artery along which trafficking victims are transported from one part of the country to another (Truckers Against Trafficking)

• Numbers are vastly under reported because of victims being arrested for drug, prostitution and other crimes and not reported as a trafficking victims

• Craigslist has been commonly used as a source of trafficking victims

• Between July 1 and Sept. 30 of 2011, alone, there were 16 trafficking-related calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center from Arkansas, 5 of those from Little Rock (reported from the Polaris Project)

• Worldwide human trafficking is a $32 billion industry with 27 million modern-day slaves (from Truckers Against Trafficking)

Partners Against Trafficking Humans: Goal is to provide residential treatment, in a safe, caring environment to promote restoration and reintegration for exploited women and children. The goal of PATH is to provide a safe place where the healing can begin in a Christ-like environment

Rush Hour [Traffic] exists to raise human trafficking awareness in Arkansas and beyond. One step at a time, we work together, inviting others with the same passion to join us in our fight. While RH[T] seeks to promote awareness of modern day slavery, we also exist to provide recovery and restoration for victims of trafficking. This includes helping them find shelter, healthcare, counseling, and other various support. Together we can stop this injustice - one life at a time.

The vision Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) started with in 2009 was of educating, equipping, empowering and mobilizing members of the trucking industry to play a critical role in the fight against human trafficking.

Not For Sale AR is a branch of the Not For Sale campaign and works on addressing the issue of human trafficking and modern day slavery in AR as well as all over the U.S. and the world. We know that in order for us to end slavery in OUR lifetime it will take all of us doing our part! With all of us working together we CAN re-abolish slavery!

Representative David Meeks:  david.meeks@arkansashouse.org
Louise Allison, founder of PATH: la@thepathinitiative.org
Emily Boedeker, founder of Rush Hour: emily@newlifechurch.tv
Dorothy Cox, Truckers Against Trafficking: dorothyc@targetmediapartners.com
Stephanie Jira, Not For Sale: sjira@notforsalecampaign.org