Legislation from state Rep. Bronna Kahle, which expands “safe harbor” protections to victims of human trafficking, was approved by the House Law and Justice Committee today. Kahle was joined by Adrian resident Kelly Castleberry, who serves on the Southern Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force, in testifying before the committee today.
House Bill 4219 will enact a recommendation of the Human Trafficking Commission by updating the deferred sentencing laws regarding human trafficking to protect more victims from criminal prosecution. The current law gives courts the flexibility to place an adult arrested for prostitution-type offenses to participate in a deferred sentencing program if he or she is determined to be a victim of human trafficking. This allows victims to receive counseling and avoid a criminal conviction on their record.
“This is a common-sense solution to help protect the victims of human trafficking,” Kahle said. “We need to ensure that all victims of these heinous crimes are treated like victims, not like criminals, and give them the opportunity to put the criminal behavior associated with this awful crime in their past.”
House Bill 4219 advances to the full House for consideration.