Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today praised the Michigan House and Senate for the passage of three House sponsored bills that are designed to put human traffickers in jail for longer and help victims of trafficking.
“The primary role of government is to protect citizens from harm. The more cases of human trafficking we investigate and the more victims we discover, the more we realize just how damaging this horrific crime is, harming virtually every aspect of a victim’s life,” said Schuette. “The passage of these house bills will better protect and help human trafficking victims heal which is incredibly important.”
The bills passed today were part of the legislative fight against human trafficking and now await the governor’s signature:
HB 5542, sponsored by Rep. Laura Cox, will make it easier for victims of human trafficking to expunge local ordinance prostitution violations resulting from human trafficking from their criminal record.
HB 5543, sponsored by Rep. Gary Howell, will allow expungement of local ordinance prostitution violations of juveniles convicted of human trafficking related crimes.
HB 5544, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Jenkins, will increase the penalty to 15 years for human trafficking involving commercial sex, also known as sex trafficking.
Background on Human Trafficking
Around the country, and right here in Michigan, children, women and men are forced into prostitution, domestic servitude and other labor for little or no pay, resulting from the use of force, fraud or coercion.
Demand for illegal activities, such as paid sex, fuels human trafficking, turning both children and adults into victims, permanently impacting the lives of those involved, their families and their loved ones.
Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery and it is the second-largest and fastest-growing criminal industry in the world.
Attorney General Schuette has made fighting this crime a priority by creating the first-ever human trafficking prosecution unit in his office and by helping create the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission.
Schuette has charged 12 people with crimes through his Human Trafficking Unit. Most recently, he charged Jonathan Colon, of New York, with running a multi-county human trafficking ring. Colon is accused of coercing these women into prostitution by getting them addicted to highly addictive drugs. Guilty convictions have been secured in the 11 other cases.
For more information, please visit the Attorney General’s human trafficking webpage.