Bipartisan effort would empower survivors to escape, rebuild lives
State Rep. Julie Calley recently announced a sweeping bipartisan plan to support survivors of human trafficking and help them rebuild their lives after escaping their captors.
Calley, of Portland, said the measures were inspired by testimony given by survivors during recent legislative hearings.
“It’s hard to imagine something as awful as human trafficking taking place here in the communities where we live, work and raise our families – but it is,” Calley said. “Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world, and it’s not just a ‘big city’ problem. We must do more to support the women, children and men who escape from sex and labor trafficking situations and live among us here in Michigan.”
Human trafficking is second only to drug trafficking as the highest yielding form of crime, according to the U.S. Department of State. Approximately $87 million is made per day from sex trafficking transactions.
The bipartisan plan Calley is advocating for would:
- Expand the types of criminal convictions that can be set aside if a crime was committed because someone is a victim of human trafficking.
- Allow human trafficking victims who were forced to engage in criminal activity the opportunity to use their victimization as an affirmative defense in court.
- Allow juvenile offenses committed by a young victim of trafficking to be expunged from their criminal record.
- Change references of “prostitution” to “commercial sexual activity” in state law.
- Update and clarify several court procedures for human trafficking cases.
“These reforms will help survivors of human trafficking break free from their pasts and empower them to find future success,” Calley said.
The legislation, House Bills 4091-4113, has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.
“I’m proud of the many, many Michiganders who stood up and took action to make certain that such a power grab never happens again,” said Calley, of Portland. “The people of our state are much better off when our government leaders work collaboratively to solve our state’s problems.”
“For far too long, kids in our local school districts have gotten less funding than those in more affluent areas of the state,” Calley said. “I’ve been fighting to right this wrong since I started serving. Whether they live in a small town or a bigger city, all Michigan students deserve equal funding. This budget finally accomplishes that goal.”