A three-bill package, introduced by state Rep. Laura Cox and fellow legislators, to make it easier for victims of human trafficking to expunge prostitution violations from their records was today passed by the Michigan House of Representatives.
“It’s a common misconception that human trafficking is not a local issue, however, right here in Michigan, children, women and men are being forced into prostitution,” said Rep. Cox, R-Livonia.
House Bill 5542 allows a person who is convicted of a local municipality’s prostitution offense to apply to have their conviction set aside if he or she committed the offense as a direct result of being a victim of human trafficking. The package also includes a bill that would set the penalty for human trafficking to 15 years in prison.
“We have a duty to the victims of these horrendous crimes to help them take back their lives,” said the freshman lawmaker. “I’m confident that these pieces of legislation will help us move a step closer to that goal.”
The Legislature has already provided victims of human trafficking a process to have their violations of state prostitution-related offenses set aside; this bill package expands it to apply to local prostitution related offenses, as well.
“Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery and it is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world,” said Rep. Cox. “The main goal of this legislation is to help these victims rebuild their lives.”
The bills now move to the Senate for further consideration.