Proos talks to Michigan Women’s Commission about efforts to combat human trafficking

LANSING—Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, recently talked to the Michigan Women’s Commission about introduced legislation to combat human trafficking in Michigan and support its victims. 

“Liberty is more widespread than ever before, yet human trafficking is still the world’s fastest-growing and second-largest criminal industry — devastating thousands of lives each year,” Proos said. “I am proud to introduce legislation as part of a bipartisan and comprehensive effort to protect our children and put an end to human trafficking in Michigan.”

Proos’ legislation, Senate Bills 590-592 would, among other things, allow victims to sue their captors for damages as a result of suffering, destruction of property and expenses incurred. They would also give victims an opportunity for a hearing where a judge could clear convictions from their record if the offenses were committed as a result of being trafficked.

“Human trafficking, also known as modern day slavery, is the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the nation and currently ranks third only surpassed by drugs and guns,” said Cathy Knauf, founder of the Southwest Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force. “Michigan’s natural borders make it a prime source, transit state for both labor and sexual human trafficking. The teaming of the state Legislature, Michigan State Human Trafficking Task Force, Southwest Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force, the other four regional task forces and groups like the Michigan Women’s Commission are bringing education and awareness to the public about this dire topic and the need for the changes in recognition and laws.”

The Polaris Project, a nonprofit organization that works to combat and prevent modern-day slavery, reports that from January to June of this year 152 individuals in Michigan called their human trafficking hotline either to get help for themselves or to report an incident of trafficking. The 24-hour, toll-free hotline is 1-888-3737-888.

Information about human trafficking, including how to identify and report it, is available on the attorney general’s website at: www.michigan.gov/humantrafficking.

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Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Sen. Proos are available on the senator’s webpage at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Podcasts.”