tv National Governors Association Summer Meeting Day 1 - PART 2 CSPAN July 29, 2019 5:25am-5:59am EDT
mccain, talked with arizona governor doug ducey about the issue of human trafficking and how to combat it. this is 30 minutes. >> good morning, everyone. this morning's session is on human trafficking. i think we are all aware of what a pervasive, evil that human trafficking is. the fact that every state in our nation and millions of people around the world. we know it takes everyone working together and we have seen this in arizona to make a difference. both local, state and federal governments, law enforcement, nonprofits and others. earlier, nga had adopted a new policy to advocate for partnership across all sectors to fight this evil. my name is doug ducey and i am the governor of arizona. it is really my pleasure today
to introduce someone who has led the fight on human trafficking for many years. it is someone i'm proud to be able to call a dear friend. someone who, through her work at the mccain institute is cochair of the arizona human trafficking council and is proven to be indispensable in the fight to end human trafficking. we are so glad she could be here today to share your wisdom with us. will you please join me in giving a very warm and nga welcome to mrs. cindy mccain. >> thank you. [applause] >> cindy, would you take the floor for a few moments. i think i have learned so much
about this issue and i remember in 2009 when you personally called and said we were going to do something about this in the state of arizona. i've been able to see what has happened to the state. but it was an issue so new to me at the time and the reason i have knowledge of it is because of you. part of the reason we wanted to have this setting today was so that we could share this knowledge and best practices with other governors across the country. >> first of all, thank you governor. it is my honor to be here. and it is my honor to be sitting on the same stage with you. if it had not been for then the treasurer doug ducey at the time, i don't think we would be sitting here talking about this. i basically put a bunch of people together as friends that i knew in my living room. and i said, we absolutely have to do something. the catalyst to all of this was the super bowl. it was coming, such a scourge, it is an epidemic, an issue that goes underreported.
and underappreciated to the effect it has on the community. i just did not want to see arizona embarrassed in any way or not only that but i wanted arizona to be healthy, happy, safe super bowl. that was really the catalyst in all of this. thanks to your work on the governor task force with this, we have been able to not only expand on what we are doing, as you know, but with your help we have been able to really, really make a difference on this issue. not just in arizona but some other states around the country because they are following our best practices and we are sharing information. it is, in my opinion, it is a scourge. for those of you who have read about epstein, the gentleman in jail, cannot be a nicer guy to be in jail, i hope he stays there. he has heightened this now. now we have to talk about this because it is mainstream.
>> thank you, cindy. >> it really was the genesis in arizona on the super bowl. whenever there are large international events, this human trafficking, these young women and young men are preyed upon by these predators. you touched on this story, jeffrey epstein that is very topical in the news right now. and i remember when you called and we had that first meeting. and it wasn't through staff. it wasn't delegated, it was a personal passion. and i was somewhat embarrassed by the lack of knowledge that i had around this issue. i thought it had something more to do with the border and immigration than with this incredible, evil industry. and how systematized it was. not only in the united states but across the world, internationally.
can you talk about what sparked your passion to get involved in this issue and really raise the profile of human trafficking? >> for me, like anything i think most of you would agree in your own personal interests, something moved you. you had an experience. you had something around you that caught your attention and moved you. it was no different for me. we have our youngest daughter bridget who is from bangladesh. she at this time was 4 years old and i had gone -- i was not in bangladesh but i was in calcutta, india and i had been to mother teresa's orphanage. like all good american women i went shopping on the way out of india. sari shop is looking for material for my daughter.
and while they were ringing me up and we were chatting, in this very tiny space, calcutta has very noisy sounds. everything is chaotic. i noticed there was this rumbling coming from the floor of this kiosk. and movement. and i asked the owner, what is going on down there and he said, it is just my family. they live down there. it was very plausible in a place like india so i didn't think much of it. and as i was taking my things and leaving i looked down again and there were slats in the floorboards. you could see all of these little eyes looking up. it was not a family, they were way too many people down there to be a family and they were all young kids. clearly these kids were being held against their will and clearly all of the things you can imagine. i am embarrassed. i got on an airplane and went home. i didn't do anything. i didn't know what to do. i didn't know what it was, and it became a lifelong quest to really understand what happened
and what i saw. and what to do. therein lies the whole solution to all of this. what do we do? >> doing an action is what you have done and to think of had someone in your position not seen something like that and coming back together people together. and begun something now that can be exported to other states , to raise this profile and take law enforcement action. it is not just law enforcement, part of it is therapy. let's talk a little bit about the misconceptions around human trafficking. around arrests of prostitution. around teenagers in need. some of the things i've learned and i'm amazed, when you saw that in india, i imagine none of us were familiar with the term human trafficking yet today we hear even on the mainstream media these misconceptions around human trafficking.
>> like anything, words have consequences. and when you describe a child who has been trafficked as a prostitute, that implies willingness. that implies an understanding of what is going on. that simply is not the case. and i am so proud of arizona because we removed the word prostitution within our statute as it applies to a child. you can no longer describe a child as a prostitute when they are picked up and saved from these circumstances. the misunderstanding is that these kids and women and men want to be there and do this. like this is a choice in their life, and it simply isn't a choice. and the other major misconception is somehow this is an immigration issue. this is not an immigration issue. these are kids being trafficked locally within your neighborhood, on a reservation, within our backyards, our malls
and everything. it is everywhere. and these kids are domestic kids. so the belief in some circumstances that it only happens overseas is not the case. it happens right here, right under our noses. in salt lake city it is right outside the front door of this hotel. it is everywhere. it is an epidemic. >> to see the testimony of individuals who had been arrested as child prostitutes, how it affected their life and how they were trapped in a system. and not only the power of government to change statute and the law but to change the culture from a legislative perspective. and the people from the private sector, the faith-based community, the charitable organizations and the philanthropic organizations. what would you say are the opportunities out there to involve those types of
individuals and influencers? and what are the biggest obstacles in terms of getting this type of movement or change in culture done at the state level? >> i think you begin with the latter part of the question. a large part has to do with changing or shaping legislation and the actual laws around it. to fit what it really is. first of all, hanging these guys that traffic these kids. it is one way. in arizona we increase the penalty to 100 years if they get caught trafficking people. that is a big deal. that is deterring some of the stuff. but also making sure these kids and men and women are picked up but particularly kids who are victims. they are not criminals. and how we treat them, once they are picked up. as you mentioned the trauma-based care that they
need. the long-term trauma-based care. the health needs, the educational needs. all of those things. it's a collaborative. we need to work together as we do in arizona with all of our agencies who work together and are law enforcement works together. we are a team in arizona on this issue and it is extremely important to how we deal with this. we are finding the other portion of this is education. educating our first responders to make sure that our nurses, our first responders know what they are seeing. understanding what they are seeing and indeed it is a trafficked child or woman or man. it is all a collaborative effort and i'm so proud of arizona for what we have done. >> thank you, cindy. cindy has been a force of nature on this issue and i think it runs in the family.
>> like a mad chihuahua. >> in terms of bringing people together on the educational part of it, the awareness, the legislative part of it, iowa was fortunate enough to have you inside our state. we are coming up on that one- year anniversary from when we lost the senator and he has passed. i know the legacy lives on in the work you are doing. the legacy lives on in the mccain institute. for other governors and i will tell you, this is not a partisan issue, this is, what is the right thing to do issue. how do we protect our children, our citizens? how do we make our state a better place to live? i know you have worked with certain influencers in our state to help bring this to light and change the law. if a governor were to go back to their state and say, this is something we are going to tackle, we are going to be as innovative or more innovative than arizona, what advice or counsel would you give them? >> hurry. jump in your car right now and hurry. start it now. i know most states within the
united states do have a human trafficking effort happening. what i suggested what i tell people, let's share information. let's share our best practices. let's share what we have learned. let's share the mistakes we've made which is very important in all of this. unless we talk as individuals and as states, and work together on this issue because to simplify it and take it down a bit, these kids are not all in one state. as you know they are transported all over the country, and it is systematic. and it is dangerous. we've been able through the efforts of the mccain institute and others to learn how now how to track these kids. not only by the languages that appear on some social media but their actual phone records. this is turning into something that is saving lives. i believe that if every governor here would do the same kind of thing, not what we do but what every state is doing, we can stop this in the united states. we can stop this cruelty
happening to children right now. >> some of the stories of lives turned around and how they serve in shelters right now, they are miracles, nothing less than miracles. >> they really are. will you know, it always amazes me because every time i think that my life is crappy on certain days, i take a look at these kids and the strength and decency and honor that they have when they come out of this. is not just inspiring but it is life-changing for me. >> i know that you are the one to break the ice in arizona and say, this is something we need to be aware of. i've been able to say that there are certain assets that the governors here share. you all have a director of homeland security. you all have a director of the state police or state troopers. in arizona we have the governor's office of youth, faith and families for people to
engage with the youth. these are all people directly or indirectly reporting to the governor's office and they are all people that spend really more time with cindy mccain on this issue than they are spending with me because they have the purview to be more effective. in addition, you have a faith- based community. you have philanthropic and charitable organizations and ngo's often times want to lobby the legislature. we are able to give them something to do. some action to take. i imagine i'm missing some other human assets that you have been able to convene together. are there any other innovative or best practices you have seen in arizona that you can share with the governors that are here today? >> i think for the most part what i would like to remind everybody is that as you mentioned this is not a political issue. anyone who wants to bring politics into this is wrong. but more importantly, in all this, is sharing of information.
a lot of times we run into -- they are all great organizations but they are not willing to share their data or share their information or share what they have learned. i think encouraging your ngo's and your faith-based community in your own states to work together on this, that is a big hurdle for us. and i think we have done a good job jumping that hurdle. but it has been a challenge. people are protective of their lists and protective of their data and we are not going to help anybody unless we share our data. >> that is an important part of it. this did begin in 2009, 2010. this has been persistent and consistent. this is not a convening of a meeting for a photo op. this is happening on a daily basis. and with the organizations, coming together on a quarterly basis. i want to open it to the governors. if they have any comments or
best practices in their state or of course questions for the subject matter expert? >> cindy, thank you for being here. i appreciate your leadership on this issue. i am curious, we have done a bit of work at the federal level to open up transparency and go after websites that knowingly sell our children for sex. but i have been told that because of that legislation that the method of trafficking our children has changed. him that there is new ways that they are still exposing our children to these dangers. i would kind of like you to maybe give information if you have it on what those new ways of marketing children are that will we need to be aware of in our states. and second, it is about missing, murdered and indigenous women. i have nine native tribes in south dakota and we have a bill to collect data in south dakota and knowing where we go. if there are tips in that specific area that you have as well, that would be helpful.
>> if i can start with the latter part first, the indigenous women. that is a very tough issue in arizona as well. we have had occasion to locate indigenous women that had been moved, trafficked off a reservation. and windup in papua new guinea. that is how deep it goes. training tribal police, the training of tribal leaders, especially is most important in this issue to protect them. and more importantly, we included tribal leaderships on our council. in large part they have helped shape the involvement of our two communities and how we work together on this. we had success with this in arizona. it has been helpful but we are not there yet. with regard to the electronic portion of this, the website, you alluded to the backpage.com. the biggest perpetrators were on backpage.com.
and i know that governor ducey and i were anxious to take care of these guys. they were based in phoenix. it was disgusting. so yes, we took down the best biggest duck in the puddle but other things sprung up. we knew that would happen and it would move offshore. it really comes down to the rest of us being more creative and figuring out how this is. we are never going to stop these guys from thinking ahead. but we can stop with our tech savvy folks. we can probably stop how it is related offshore. by that i mean how, if, when, should and could it could be read. anything involving a child, i believe should be heavily monitored and heavily cared for in terms of the website.
i mean, i guess let me back up for a second. there are so many other websites that popped up including just the fact they are using instagram and facebook to do this. there has to be some responsibility on the parts of these social media platforms. to be able to help us as parents be able to deal with this. and to help our community deal with this. i truly believe that we need to hold facebook, instagram and all the others, talking about the largest ones accountable for a great deal of what we do. >> cindy single-handedly called backpage to task to public testimony in front of the task force. that was addressed. but what backpage was doing was focusing on things that were in the shadows. and were not really in public view. the recent case, the current case in the news, it is quite different and gives you an idea of the spectrum across the
board. while everyone is innocent until proven guilty, this individual that we are talking about has already been given guilty. this is just another case and another jurisdiction under the same umbrella. governor hutchinson? >> thank you, governor ducey, for drawing attention to this serious issue. and to cindy, welcome and thank you as well. you mentioned the super bowl in arizona was what drew attention to this from your standpoint. arkansas has not had a super bowl recently. we do hope that we will have a super bowl soon. we don't identify with the same issue, but it is important even in a rural state like arkansas that we have truck stops. i want to applaud our general assembly that recognized the need to address this area of
sexual trafficking. and that it can happen in the rural states as well. so we passed a law, act 922 that addressed training for truckers. and it requires any person applying or reapplying for commercial drivers license must complete a human trafficking prevention course. and i think this is a good practice. we signed this into law. it is also mandatory for all educators to have annual continuing education for 30 minutes to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to it. you don't want to put burdens on educators and unnecessary mandates, but i think this is helpful to draw attention to the challenge of human trafficking, sex trafficking as well. in these areas that can be utilized for that evil purpose. so one challenge though is the
public in general as to making them more aware and to be able to identify that. i wanted to thank you and see if you had any comments as to what more we can do to educate the public and make them aware of this? >> you make a very good point about educating the public. that was really how we began with the super bowl thing. billboards, all of the usual things you would suggest on that. but we need to take it even further down. that is into the elementary schools. a lot of people think, we had to overcome in arizona the issue. this is sex ed. no, it's not sex ed. this is a safety. this is keeping your children safe. each state is different, but it is extremely important that we learn and we work together in dealing with our elementary schools and our high schools of course too. with that said we have to deal with buyers.
we have these great preventions that we are working on and everything else, but the buyers really have to be held accountable too. we just had a huge thing in arizona which was just yesterday, wasn't it? a huge thing in arizona, but the buyers also have to be accountable in all of this. but your point about truckers, truckers against trafficking do those kinds of things. that is all great and it is all -- we use the saying, we stole it from homeland security. if you see something, say something. go ahead and do it. call somebody. but congratulations on what you are doing. i think that is marvelous. >> that is an excellent example because the super bowl is in unfortunate example because it happens once a year in one place and it is an incredible event. but this is actually happening everywhere. it is almost happening anywhere there is activity. and there are good people
everywhere but they may not be aware of what is happening. a lot of good guys behind the wheels of these 18 wheelers and we have folks in arizona driving ubers and taxicabs that are aware of this. if they see something, they say something and they report it. these people getting away with this were invisible and these young girls were invisible. that is just not the case. the more there is a light placed in on this, the more that we will be able to get rid of it and minimize it. any other governors? we are fortunate in arizona, cindy. this has been one of the focuses of the mccain institute from the get-go. and it has been a resource and a partner for us. are there other partners out there? or who would a governor look to at the state level to have that kind of support and efficiency
to move the message forward as they find a champion to carry the torch? >> what i would suggest to anybody, not just governors but to anybody that wants to become involved in this issue and i hope some of you do, is to 1st come to the mccain institute website. we have a list of organizations that work on these specific issues and specific areas of this issue. i will name one in particular. but thorn, my good friend ashton kutcher and his ex-wife demi moore founded thorn. thorn is digitally based. they are helping first responders within squad cars in rural parts of states be able to identify these kids and where they have been. and giving them tools to know what to do with them. each state is different. i would suggest that you research the organizations.
there are really good ones in your own home states. use them. get everybody involved in this. it is extraordinarily important to be diligent in keeping people involved in this. this is a national security problem. i speak that a lot of international defense conferences around the world did it is not just a local or issue with little kids. it is a huge issue around the world. >> that has been a real eye-opener for me. as someone who came from the private sector and entered public life, this is an issue that you can go into any room, anywhere in the state. people are involved from the most conservative faith-based leaders to royalty of hollywood. they come together to say, let's stop this. let's address this. let's shine a spotlight on these people and help these young people.
the best is to prevent it but some of the most incredible stories are the people that have been let out of this and they are some of the most persuasive spokespeople. are there any other parting words of wisdom that you would have for the nations governors around this issue? >> as i said earlier, i hope that every state is diligent on this. and is part of the solution in whatever way works for your own state. and more importantly i hope the spouses, partners and significant others in the room will join us in this. your voice, with your partner, spouse, whomever as being governor of your own home state, you have a big voice. you have a large voice in this as well, so i encourage our spouses and partners to become part of this issue as well. it just takes a couple of voices i think that are recognized within your own home state to make a difference in this.
parting words would be and hopefully, hopefully you take from this, a sense of urgency. we have to get together as a nation and work on this issue very strongly. and i hope i can encourage all of you to do just that. >> i would echo that. of course our office is happy to help. this is a local law enforcement issue. and they love to share these this practice is across the state line. i think the most innovative policy is located at the mccain institute, available to everyone. on behalf of the nation's governors, democrat, republican and independent, thank you cindy mccain. >> thank you. [applause]
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