Local Politics

AG Lynch tackles human trafficking, civil rights in Triangle stops

Posted July 1, 2015 6:56 p.m. EDT
Updated July 1, 2015 7:52 p.m. EDT

— U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch returned to her roots Wednesday while addressing current problems.

The Durham native made her first official visit to the Triangle since her appointment as the first black woman in charge of the Department of Justice. During stops in Raleigh and Durham, she addressed topics ranging from human trafficking and hate crimes to voting rights, school safety and deaths in police custody.

Lynch was part of a two-hour afternoon roundtable at the North Carolina Central University School of Law where she discussed various civil rights issues with Durham leaders and community activists. When the subject of the recent church shooting in Charleston, S.C., that left nine people dead was addressed, she said she couldn't answer why there seems to be more hate crimes recently, but she did make a promise to the group.

"While we cannot guarantee the absence of hate, we can guarantee the presence of justice. We can do that," she said. "I am committed as attorney general to making good on that guarantee."

In the morning, Lynch held a similar roundtable in Raleigh with the North Carolina Coalition Against Human Trafficking. She called the group not just a model for other state but an effort that has saved lives.

Calling human trafficking "the modern day slavery that needs to end," she said combating it is a top priority for the Justice Department, and she wanted to learn more about how North Carolina prosecutes human traffickers and helps survivors reconnect with their families and society.

"I need you to know, not only do you have my commitment and my thanks, you have my pledge, my support for resources to work with you, to help you," she told the group.

Lynch ended her day with a visit to the Durham Police Department to discuss community policing efforts. She said she is trying to find some best practices from departments across the country that can be shared.