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.