Theis bill broadens fight against human trafficking

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State Rep. Lana Theis

Sen. Lana Theis introduced legislation on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, that would strengthen the state’s existing laws to combat human trafficking.

“We, as a state, have made great progress to reduce human trafficking, but Michigan is still ranked 10th in the nation,” said Theis, R-Brighton. “While we have seen improvements, we can and must do more to eliminate this modern form of slavery from our state and nation.”

The four-bill, bipartisan package would require certain professions in the state to obtain regular training on how to identify and report potential trafficking incidences.

Senate Bill 773, sponsored by Theis, would require anyone who is obtaining or renewing a commercial driver’s license to complete training on the recognition, prevention and reporting of human trafficking.

“Predators often exploit the transportation system to move their victims across the country, and truck drivers can play a significant role in the fight against human trafficking,” Theis said. “They have the advantage when it comes to spotting signs and making reports.”

Other measures would require school teachers and counselors to receive similar training twice a year, and require the state’s Human Trafficking Commission to develop recommendations on the minimum standards for any training programs on human trafficking.

Additionally, Senate Resolution 98 urges banks and credit unions in the state to display a universal human trafficking notification that includes warning signs and the 24/7 national hotline to report suspected trafficking.

SBs 772-775 and SR 98 were referred to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee for consideration.

According to the Polaris Project, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center receives the most human trafficking-related calls from Michigan from the cities of Detroit, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Mackinac Island.

To contact the 24/7 National Human Trafficking Hotline, call 1-888-373-7888, send a text message to 233733, or visit www.humantraffickinghotline.org/chat.

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