American Samoa's anti-human trafficking law will take effect in June, after the acting governor, Lemanu Peleti Mauga, signed into law last Friday legislation that criminalizes human trafficking and involuntary servitude.
The bill, which originated with the Lolo Administration, was approved by the House last year and endorsed by the Senate early last month.
In signing the bill, Lemanu says this much needed legislation will allow the government to investigate, enforce and prosecute those who would force others to work as either domestic slaves or for sexual exploitation.
He also says that there have been past incidents of human trafficking in American Samoa and that victims of human trafficking are not limited to a certain age, gender, ethnicity or nationality or isolated to certain villages.
He says this law is the first step to ensuring the past will not be repeated and that human trafficking has gone on too long in the territory.
Lemanu says it is time that American Samoa comes together and moves forward in eliminating modern slavery from the territory.