Advocates: Maine needs more resources, coordination to fight human trafficking

Good morning from Augusta. The story of the day will be the meeting of the Maine Legislature’s watchdog committee in its investigation of Gov. Paul LePage’s involvement with Good Will-Hinckley rescinding an employment contract with House Speaker Mark Eves.

Here’s our guide to the cast of characters who will testify today. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. and you can listen in live using the Legislature’s website.

Governor’s Summit on Human Trafficking starts in Northport

LePage’s first Summit on Human Trafficking starts today and will run through Friday in Northport, and ahead of it, the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault released a summary of the first-ever assessment of what Maine needs to better fight trafficking.

Human trafficking has been a much-discussed issue in Maine over the past two years. Last year, Maine passed a law vacating prostitution convictions of victims of sex trafficking — when a third party benefits from the sale of a person for sex acts.

Between 2007 and March 2015, a national human trafficking hotline has gotten more than 240 calls from Maine and identified 41 likely trafficking cases and in the first year of a federal grant, 64 people in Cumberland and York counties have been identified and given services as trafficking victims, according to the coalition.

The assessment calls for streamlining language for reporting and discussing trafficking, increasing community awareness, educating school-aged kids about relationships and warning signs of abuse, enhancing services to victims and assigning them mentors, improving data collection and expanding state oversight for labor trafficking.

More data will be provided at the conference and a full report will be released in December, the coalition said.

After clashing with LePage on conservation funding, Katz to get environmental award

Maine Conservation Voters announced that Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, will get the Harrison L. Richardson Environmental Leadership Award at an annual event on Thursday evening.

These sorts of awards often don’t have much significance outside of the groups giving them, but LePage’s move to hold back voter-approved bonds for the Land for Maine’s Future program is a lingering controversy in Augusta.

Katz has led the effort to get those bonds released. In June, a bill that he sponsored to do so that failed narrowly in the House after a LePage veto. A bill to be considered this year would extend the life of $6.5 million in bonds that have expired.


Reading list

Best of Maine’s Craigslist

  • Some guy is giving away bacteria and yeast in Westbrook. (OK, to be fair, it’s SCOBY that’s used to make kombucha, a fermented tea drink, but it’s still weird.)
  • Five hermit crabs from Bowdoinham are being offered free to “someone who ALREADY has hermit crabs and knows how to care for them.”
  • A free, cheap dresser that’s falling apart is free in Stetson: “If you want to fix it, come and get it! If you want to smash it up and use it for firewood, come and get it! If you want to paint a target on it and use it for practice, come and get it! I just want the darn thing out of my house.”
  • Someone in Standish who raises quail — which “are better then chickens and multiply faster then rabbits” — wants to barter with you: “I mostly trade newborns but if your item is very good I can trade some quail that are laying and full grown.”
  • A man who was dressed as a vampire on Halloween is looking for the “sexy 50s chick” he talked with at Geno’s Rock Club in Portland that night. He saw her at Whole Foods afterward, so this may be fate, everybody.
Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.