Cracking down on human trafficking

May 25 marks 10 years since Public Act 162 of 2006, sponsored by then-Rep. Phil Pavlov, was signed into law — making human trafficking a crime in Michigan.

Our children are especially vulnerable to this heinous act, which is still clouded in shadow.

Human trafficking graphicThe Michigan Senate Republicans are continuing the effort to shine the light on human trafficking and crack down on a criminal industry that is second only to illegal drugs.

Sen. Judy Emmons led the effort to enact 21 comprehensive and landmark reforms in 2014 to end this modern-day slavery and support its survivors.

Emmons met with survivors of human trafficking and anti-trafficking activists across Michigan to develop solutions to help end this horrible crime, which devastates the lives of thousands of women and children every year.

Michigan now has some of the country’s strongest human trafficking laws.

Public Acts 324-344 of 2014 punish traffickers, support survivors and increase awareness and training. Among the 2014 laws were provisions to increase penalties for soliciting a minor prostitute, add those who solicit minor prostitutes to the sex offender registry, create a safe harbor for minor survivors of trafficking and establish a permanent Human Trafficking Commission.

As a result of the Senate’s efforts, the Protected Innocence Challenge (a report on the state of child sex trafficking laws in the U.S.) found that Michigan raised its grade to a “B” in 2015 – making it the most improved state.

Starting 10 years ago with PA 162 and adding 21 new laws in 2014, Michigan is sending a loud and clear statement that we are serious about protecting women and children, prosecuting traffickers and rescuing and assisting survivors.

Go Red for Women

Each year, cardiovascular disease claims the lives of nearly one in three women in America. Approximately every 80 seconds, one woman dies from cardiovascular disease, and 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors.

The Michigan Senate and the American Heart Association are once again teaming up to raise awareness about the dangers of heart disease and to educate the public, especially women, about how to recognize warning signs. For the sixth year in a row, Senate Republicans, led by Tonya Schuitmaker, Judy Emmons and Margaret O’Brien, sponsored a resolution recognizing Feb. 5 as “Wear Red Day” in Michigan.

Go Red for Women is a national movement dedicated to increasing awareness of the dangers surrounding heart disease. Up to 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with proper education on what to do if an event occurs, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Most people have been trained to recognize the most common symptom of a heart attack: extreme chest pain. However, women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and back or jaw pain. Other symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen and extreme fatigue.

The best way to decrease your odds is to get regular checkups. Although some risk factors for heart disease (such as age, family health history and race) cannot be avoided, other risks like alcohol consumption, smoking, inactivity and obesity are very manageable.

For more information about Go Red for Women and heart disease, visit

“Go Red For Women” today, and encourage friends and family to do the same by using the hashtags #GoRedWearRed, #WellWomenVisit, #GoRedForWomen and #GoRed on social media.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Sens. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage; Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton; and Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan; remind Michigan families of the importance of learning the risks, symptoms and treatment options in a Breast Cancer Awareness Month public service announcement.

During the month, the Michigan Senate Republicans join in renewing the fight against breast cancer, working to raise awareness and supporting those who are fighting or have survived the disease.