The Community United for Safety and Protection opposes any budget cuts on the most vulnerable Alaskans.  The state budget should not be on the backs of the drug addicted, the elderly, the disabled, and the down on out.

Instead, you should consider reallocating  $578,239, the yearly budget for the Special Crimes Investigative Unit (a part of the Alaska Bureau of Investigations).  Its “main purpose” is to “locate and rescue juvenile victims that are being forced to work as prostitutes in the commercial sexual exploitation of children.”  However, in its 25 months of investigation, the SCIU has yet to investigate a case resulting in any charges of trafficking a minor.  In fact, no one has been charged with trafficking a minor in Alaska since 2009 (people have been charged with making child pornography and with trying to pay for sex with fictitious minors – those are federal cases investigated by the FBI and Anchorage PD).

Instead of using the sex trafficking law to target the people they were intended to, the fund has been primarily used to charge marginalized adult women in the sex industry under AS 11.66.110-135 for sex trafficking themselves.   In its first year, everyone charged with trafficking was an alleged prostitute who was charged with prostitution of themselves in the very same case they were charged with trafficking (“aiding or facilitating” their own prostitution or having a “place of prostitution”).  At the end of 2014, four out of the seven total trafficking cases were against sex workers and none of them involved minors. The Department of Law has not yet responded to a January 15, 2016 records request for 2015 cases.

Although the SCIU is also tasked with investigating sex trafficking, SCIU officers have both refused to take reports from sex workers and have followed up on such reports in threatening and highly sexualized manners.  We consider this type of response to crime victims of any age, especially minors, incredibly inappropriate and we hope you do too.

It is incumbent upon you as our representatives to scrutinize this budget item and be responsible to the health and welfare of the most vulnerable Alaskans are not sacrificed.