Robocalls, Human Trafficking Top Attorney General’s Agenda

Greg Zoeller says the state needs to do more to crack down on human traffickers and people making illegal robocalls.

Greg Zoeller

Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU News

Attorney General Zoeller talks about his plans to limit the number of robocalls coming into Indiana homes.

Indiana’s Attorney General says two of his biggest priorities for his next term will be cracking down on human trafficking and robocalls.

The General Assembly this year passed new penalties for human traffickers, but Zoeller says more needs to be done to prevent young people from turning to a life of prostitution.

“As we look at the reality of prostitution, and the young girls that are runaways in their early teens that become the next prostitutes, a lot of those women are more victims than they are criminals, so that is something that w e are going to continue to focus on,” he says.

Zoeller says in Marion County alone, there are six active cases of human trafficking making their way through the court system. He says he will work with the new Department of Child Protective Services by providing new resources to them from his office. The Attorney General’s office is already handling much of the appellate work previously litigated by the CPS.

Another one of Zoeller’s priority for 2013, is putting a stop to illegal robocalls. Zoeller says a record number of complaints came through his office in 2012 regarding violations to Indiana’s Do-Not-Call list.

Zoeller says his office received more than 21,000 telephone privacy complaints this year.  He attributes most of those calls to overseas companies that use internet phone services to make computerized, recorded calls.

“I think we’re losing ground, particularly in the area of VOIP, Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol that allows tens of thousands of robocalls to be made to the people of Indiana who are on our Do-Not-Call-List,” he says.

Zoeller says earlier this year he tried to get the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the calls.
“The FCC, remarkably, considers it free speech,” he says.” I’ve told the ones who will listen that we do not consider it to be free speech.”

Now, Zoeller wants to introduce stricter regulations in Indiana that would increase penalties on companies that send false information to caller-ID devices.

FCC officials could not be reached for comment.

Among other issues, Zoeller said he is also prepared to defend a constitutional ban on gay marriage should the state legislature pass such a measure. The U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to hear two cases on gay marriage next year. They are expected to rule on the cases in the summer.

Dan Goldblatt

Dan Goldblatt is the Multi-media Producer for WFIU/WTIU News. A graduate of Indiana University, he studied journalism and anthropology. He currently lives in Bloomington with his cat, June Carter.

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