In recognition of National Human Trafficking Month, state attorneys general nationwide took steps in January to raise awareness about human trafficking, educate the public about how to identify and prevent this crime, and utilize their offices’ resources and expertise to prosecute and prevent human trafficking. While numerous state and U.S. AGs take action year-round to rid the country of human trafficking, below find highlights of a few significant initiatives announced this month.
Mississippi AG Lynn Fitch announced that approximately $2.5 million in funding from the Victims of Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation Fund will be distributed to nine organizations throughout Mississippi, including Canopy Children’s Solutions, Center for Violence Prevention, Christians in Action, Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence, Methodist Children’s Homes of Mississippi, Mississippians Against Human Trafficking, Mississippi Families for Kids, Southern Christian Services, and Sunnybrook Children’s Home. An active and outspoken leader against the fight, Fitch stated: “[F]ew crimes rob a person of their very humanity and dignity like human trafficking, but we don’t have to let it steal their future. Our community is fortunate to have these nine organizations who work tirelessly with our sisters, daughters, and friends as they piece their lives back together.”
Ohio AG Dave Yost held the fourth annual Human Trafficking Summit on January 26 in downtown Columbus, OH. Ohio’s largest event of its kind, the summit brought together survivors, social workers and victim advocates, law enforcement, attorneys, prosecutors, judges, and other community stakeholders to provide resources and tools to succeed in the fight against human trafficking. The event consisted of 17 workshops and 33 presenters, including Keynote Speaker Suleman Masood from the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking.
New Jersey AG Matthew Platkin launched a new Human Trafficking Unit within the Division of Criminal Justice that will focus exclusively on investigating and prosecuting human trafficking crimes.
Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron announced that his Office of Trafficking and Abuse Prevention launched the Human Trafficking Outreach Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative, which will work with Kentucky’s communities and landlords to identify and shutter illicit massage businesses that potentially enable human trafficking.
Why It Matters
State AGs’ prioritization and collaborative efforts to combat human trafficking only helps to advance the fight against this ongoing crime. By working with the community businesses and leaders in various industries, law enforcement, and all levels of the government, AGs can enrich the collective knowledge, experience, and intel to help the overall effort to fight back.
Troutman Pepper State Attorneys General Team
|Ashley Taylor – Co-leader and Firm Vice Chair |
Ashley is a partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group and co-leader of the State Attorneys General practice. He focuses primarily on federal and state government regulatory and enforcement matters involving state attorneys general, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Drawing upon his experience as a deputy attorney general, Ashley has developed an extensive consumer practice with regard to the consumer financial services industry.
|Clay Friedman – Co-leader |
Clay is a partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group and co-leader of the State Attorneys General practice. Informed by nearly a decade in a state attorneys general office, and more than 25 years in private practice, Clay spends much of his time representing clients in singular or multistate regulatory actions. Clay has repeatedly led teams before all 50 state attorneys general and also handles matters with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other local, state and federal agencies.
|Stephen Piepgrass |
Stephen represents clients interacting with, and being investigated by, state attorneys general and other enforcement bodies, including the CFPB and FTC, as well as clients involved with litigation, particularly in heavily regulated industries.
|Michael Yaghi |
Michael handles high-profile state attorneys general, FTC, and CFPB investigations by advising clients through these complex government inquiries. He assists clients through the entire life cycle of investigations, from regulatory enforcement through formal litigation.
|Ketan Bhirud |
As a former government official at the state and federal level, Ketan leverages extensive experience in the public and private sectors to skillfully represent client interests.
|Avi Schick |
A former deputy attorney general of New York, Avi applies his experience in bet-the-company matters, representing clients in criminal and civil investigations and enforcement actions before state and federal regulators, prosecutors and enforcement agencies.
|Chris Carlson |
Chris represents clients in regulatory, civil and criminal investigations and litigation. In his practice, Chris regularly employs his prior regulatory experience to benefit clients who are interacting with and being investigated by state attorneys general.
|Natalia Jacobo |
Natalia is an associate in the firm’s business litigation practice. She recently received her J.D from the University of California, Davis School of Law.
|Namrata Kang |
Namrata is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group, based in the Washington, D.C. office. Her work includes advising clients in regulatory investigations and compliance matters, in addition to representing clients in civil litigation matters.
|Susan Nikdel |
Susan is an associate in the firm’s Consumer Financial Services Practice Group, and focuses her practice on consumer financial services matters. She has defended several of the nation’s largest and most influential financial institutions in individual and class action litigation involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and other consumer privacy statutes. Susan also represents banks, fintechs, and financial services companies in connection with regulatory examinations and investigations brought by the CFPB, state attorneys general, and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
|Whitney Shephard |
Whitney is an attorney in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group. She represents clients facing state and federal regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, as well as related civil litigation.
|Trey Smith |
Trey is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement practice. His experience includes serving as a summer associate at the firm in 2021.
|Daniel Waltz |
An experienced litigator, Daniel advises and represents regional, national and international companies, financial institutions and insurers in all facets of business, complex commercial and insurance coverage litigation. He is committed to working with his clients to find creative solutions to meet their needs.
|Stephanie Kozol |
Stephanie is Troutman Pepper’s senior government relations manager in the state attorneys general department.