January is National Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Tuesday recognized President Trump’s designation of January as Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month.

“Human trafficking has no place in Michigan, and I am proud of the work that my Department and law enforcement agencies across the state of Michigan have done to free survivors of trafficking, and prosecute the offenders,” said Schuette. “We will continue to fight against this modern form of slavery by bringing light into the darkness created by those that harm others.”

Often, human trafficking survivors have been arrested and charged with prostitution related charges which impede employment and educational opportunities. PA 35 of 2017 allows human trafficking victims to have their prostitution related charges diverted by the court if they are found to have been victims of human trafficking.

Second only to drug trafficking, human trafficking is the fastest-growing and second-largest criminal industry in the world, with an estimated 25 million people in the grips of human trafficking for both sex and labor. Victims of human trafficking are in bondage through force, fraud or coercion, solely for the purpose of sex or labor exploitation. Children are especially vulnerable, and existing data sources strongly suggest that the current reported human trafficking statistics do not provide a complete picture of the prevalence of human trafficking in Michigan.

Upon taking office in 2011, Schuette launched the state’s first Human Trafficking Unit in the Attorney General’s Office to prosecute human traffickers under state law. Since 2011, eleven people have been charged with human trafficking by the Department of Attorney General.

Schuette served as one of ten attorneys general nationwide selected to lead the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Presidential Initiative on Combating Human Trafficking, called Pillars of Hope. Schuette has worked closely with fellow Attorneys General to craft a coordinated national strategy to combat human trafficking, including efforts to prosecute offenders, assist victims, analyze the impact of this crime and raise public awareness nationwide.

If you believe you have witnessed or are aware of a potential case of human trafficking, call your local police or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-3737-888.

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