7A-354. North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission.

(a) Establishment. - There is established in the Administrative Office of the Courts the North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission. For purposes of this section, "Commission" means the North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission.

(b) Membership. - The Commission shall consist of no more than 15 members as follows:

(1) The President Pro Tempore of the Senate shall appoint one representative from each of the following:

a. The public at large.

b. A county sheriff's office.

c. A city or town police department.

d. Legal Aid of North Carolina.

(2) The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint one representative from each of the following:

a. The public at large.

b. North Carolina Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

c. A faith-based shelter or benefits organization providing services to victims of human trafficking.

d. A district attorney or an assistant district attorney.

(3) The Governor shall appoint one representative from each of the following:

a. The Department of Labor.

b. The Department of Justice.

c. The Department of Public Safety.

d. A health care representative.

(4) The following persons, or their designees, may serve as ex officio members of the Commission:

a. The Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

b. The President of the North Carolina Conference of Superior Court Judges.

c. The President of the North Carolina Association of District Court Judges.

(c) Powers. - The Commission shall have the following powers:

(1) To apply for and receive, on behalf of the State, funding from federal, public or private initiatives, grant programs, or donors that will assist in examining and countering the problem of human trafficking in North Carolina.

(2) To commission, fund, and facilitate quantitative and qualitative research to explore the specific ways human trafficking is occurring in North Carolina and the links to international and domestic human trafficking, and to assist in creating measurement, assessment, and accountability mechanisms.

(3) To contribute to efforts to inform and educate law enforcement personnel, social services providers, and the general public about human trafficking so that human traffickers can be prosecuted and victim-survivors can receive appropriate services.

(4) To suggest new policies, procedures, or legislation to further the work of eradicating human trafficking and to provide assistance and review with new policies, procedures, and legislation.

(5) To assist in developing regional response teams or other coordinated efforts to counter human trafficking at the level of law enforcement, legal services, social services, and nonprofits.

(6) To identify gaps in law enforcement or service provision and recommend solutions to those gaps.

(7) To consider whether human trafficking should be added to the list of criminal convictions that require registration under the sex offender and public protection registration program.

(d) Terms and Chair. - Members shall serve two-year terms, with no prohibition against being reappointed. Any individual appointed to serve on the Commission shall serve until his or her successor is appointed and qualified. The chair shall be appointed biennially by the Governor from among the membership of the Commission.

(e) Meetings. - The chair shall convene the Commission. Meetings shall be held as often as necessary, but not less than four times a year.

(f) A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The affirmative vote of a majority of the members present at meetings of the Commission shall be necessary for action to be taken by the Commission.

(g) Vacancies. - A vacancy on the Commission or as chair of the Commission resulting from the resignation of a member or otherwise shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made, and the term shall be for the balance of the unexpired term.

(h) Removal. - The Commission may remove a member for misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance, or neglect of duty.

(i) Compensation. - Commission members shall receive no per diem for their services but shall be entitled to receive travel allowances in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 138-5 or G.S. 138-6, as appropriate.

(j) Staffing. - The Administrative Office of the Courts shall be responsible for staffing the Commission.

(k) Funding. - From funds available to the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Director shall allocate monies to fund the work of the Commission. (2012-142, s. 15.3A(a)-(k); 2012-194, s. 55.5; 2013-368, ss. 23, 24; 2014-115, s. 47; 2018-5, s. 18B.7; 2018-75, s. 7; 2018-97, ss. 5.6(a), (b).)