On March 2, legislation was approved by the Michigan House, forcing many public places to begin posting human trafficking notices. This effort is designed to help fight the 32 billion dollar industry currently flourishing here in the United States. The legislation was passed 95 to eight, proving that this bipartisan bill was widely accepted by legislators and advocates alike.
This new law will require notices in places like state rest stops, public transportation venues, strip clubs, and airports, among many other places. Businesses that refuse to comply with this new standard will be fined 250 dollars a year after their first notice. The fine could reach up to 500 dollars after the third notice.
The proposed legislation comes shortly after Shared Hope International released their Protected Innocence Challenge results from 2015 stating that Michigan as a whole went from an F to a B grade in how trafficking cases are handled.
Advocates of the legislation have argued this could lead to more arrests in the long run, while helping victims feel more comfortable to speak out about their abuse. Ultimately, the hope is that this will be a low-cost way to educate the community on the issue of human trafficking, provide the help victims require, and prevent the start of other trafficking cases in the state. This bill encourages Civilian First Responders to keep an eye out for trafficking situations in their own backyards.
A volunteer at WAR, Int’l has also worked hard to make it easier for victims to receive help. Creating what she calls the “Unbound Project,” she is in the process of sending tear-off cards with the National Human Trafficking Hotline number on them into local businesses – right here in West Michigan. We get so excited to see volunteers finding creative and unique ways to reach out to those in need in our community!
We are very thankful for the advocates and legislators who made this bill a reality, forcing others to join the fight against human trafficking for the betterment of our communities. We pray this would be an opportunity to raise awareness, while providing the resources victims need to get back on their feet after abuse. Our goal at WAR, Int’l is to see lives restored with dignity and hope. We believe this legislation is one more step in the right direction to do just that.