State Rep. Daire Rendon, of Lake City, is part of a new, sweeping bipartisan plan to support survivors of human trafficking and help them rebuild their lives after escaping their captors.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services recently heard testimony from survivors to begin the 2021-22 legislative term – and the Michigan House has followed through with reforms to address issues.
“This is a horrific trend that we are starting to see in our state and it’s happening throughout the entire world,” said Rendon, who has served on the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee for all three of her terms. “Here in the United States, we seem to think at times that something as awful as human trafficking can’t be happening under our noses. But that’s not the case. It’s happening in the U.S. It’s happening in our state and it’s happening in our neighborhoods. We must make strong deterrents a priority and work to protect people.”
Rendon’s bill within the legislative package, House Bill 4094, updates sections of the Michigan penal code to reflect the reforms.
The recently introduced bipartisan plan also:
- Expands the types of criminal convictions that can be set aside if a crime was committed because someone is a victim of human trafficking.
- Allows human trafficking victims who were forced to engage in criminal activity the opportunity to use their victimization as an affirmative defense in court.
- Allows juvenile offenses committed by a young victim of trafficking to be expunged from their criminal record.
- Changes references of “prostitution” to “commercial sexual activity” in state law.
- Updates and clarifies several court procedures for human trafficking cases.
Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world, 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 plan has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.
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