Commission On Human Trafficking releases report with legislative recommendations

Categories: In Case You Missed It

humantrafficThe Michigan Commission On Human Trafficking, co-chaired by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and state Rep. Kurt Heise,  released its initial annual report today after more than six months of meetings, fact-finding, and collaboration with its members, including the Attorney General, state legislators, social services, private organizations, and human trafficking experts.

[To read the entire 2013_Michigan Commission On Human_Trafficking_Annual_Report – CLICK HERE]

The commission focused on five main areas when compiling their report:

  1. Data Collection – charged with reviewing strategies to collect statewide data so policymakers and law enforcement can assess progress in their efforts to tackle this growing crime.
  2. Victim Services – charged with reviewing victim needs and determining how those needs can best be met at the local and state level, including how to coordinate private and public sector assistance.
  3. Professional Training – charged with reviewing existing training efforts for professionals and determining how those efforts can be enhanced and expanded. “Professional” is
    broadly defined to include various groups who may encounter human trafficking: law enforcement, health care providers, social-service providers, hospitality providers, and those in the code enforcement and regulatory agencies.
  4. Raising Public Awareness – charged with developing strategies to raise public consciousness and awareness of the crime of human trafficking.
  5. Legislative and Policy – charged with reviewing Michigan’s current legal framework governing human trafficking and determining whether new legislation or policy changes are required.

The commission developed 11 legislative goals out their meetings. Including:

  • passing a safe harbor law for trafficking victims;
  • increasing the penalties for “johns”;
  • updating Michigan’s Prostitution Act;
  • changing aspects of the Omnibus Forfeiture Act to stop criminals from evading forfeiture efforts;
  • modifying nuisance abatement laws to include human trafficking;
  • amending the Human Trafficking Act;
  • passing legislation to allow the vacating of victims’ conviction records;
  • requiring mandatory reporting of human trafficking by certain professionals;
  • extending the statute of limitations for human trafficking offenses;
  • amending the federal Communication Decency Act; and
  • enacting a human trafficking poster law to increase awareness.

picstitchThe report also had broader-based recommendations beyond the commission’s legislative goals, to guide the commission moving forward. The report explains them as follows:

The Commission also developed wide-ranging recommendations as an action-oriented agenda for policymakers. These recommendations contain certain fundamental goals that must be addressed to fully combat trafficking and assist victims. While the report contains more detailed recommendations, below is a general overview of some of the Commission’s recommendations:
  • Implement a standard, comprehensive method for capturing and storing human trafficking data and take steps to increase data reporting among entities that interact with human trafficking victims.
  • Develop a standardized human trafficking victim assessment tool for service providers that may interact with human trafficking victims.
  • Increase dedicated housing facilities for human trafficking victims and increase availability of services – particularly basic life skills training and legal, medical, and translation services.
  • Develop specialized victim-centered, trauma-informed programming and training for individuals that may interact with human trafficking victims.
  • Establish a single state-administered human trafficking web portal and develop more extensive social media resources on human trafficking awareness. Also, implement a statewide human trafficking public awareness campaign.

Rep. Kurt Heise spoke about the commission and the report: