Friday, January 26, 2024

Senate Passage of Human Trafficking Legislation

 Attorney General Nessel Issues Statement on Senate Passage of Human Trafficking Legislation

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel praised today’s unanimous passage of Human Trafficking legislation through the Senate. Senate Bills 515-517 are also supported by the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission, which is housed within the Michigan Department of Attorney General. 

“This legislative package includes long-awaited reforms that will protect human trafficking victims and provide them with the same rights in court currently provided to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence,” said Attorney General Nessel. “It will also provide Michigan law enforcement officers and prosecutors with additional tools to help prosecute those who engage in this heinous, criminal behavior. I applaud the Senate for passing this critical legislation.”

This legislation, sponsored by Senators Rosemary Bayer, Sue Shink and Stephanie Chang, will:  

  1. Add to the hearsay exception and allow for such statements to come in if they were made not only by a victim of domestic violence, but also a victim of human trafficking.
  2. Expand the reach of the statute that allows for admission of other prior similar acts to include admission of other acts of commercial sexual activity, prostitution, and human trafficking, instead of only in domestic violence or sexual assault cases.
  3. Help hold perpetrators of these crimes accountable by allowing jurors to consider an abuser’s or trafficker’s true nature or abuser’s and trafficker’s plans regarding human trafficking offenses.

The Department of Attorney General testified in support of these bills before the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. Since 2011, the Department of Attorney General has provided training to more than 3,000 professionals and filed charges against 35 individuals for human trafficking, which all led to arrests. The Department also has successfully convicted 29 people, with cases against several additional defendants pending.

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