Sen. Emmons pleased to have support of Attorney General Schuette and House members on solution-based human trafficking legislation

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LANSING — Sen. Judy Emmons joined Attorney General Bill Schuette on Wednesday to unveil the 2013 report and recommendations of the Michigan Commission on Human Trafficking. Emmons served on the commission as chair of the Public Awareness Subcommittee.

“I appreciate being a part of the Michigan Commission on Human Trafficking to help develop strategies for both increasing awareness and enacting new laws to crack down on this modern-day slavery and support its victims,” said Emmons, chair of the Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee. “I’ve crisscrossed the state during the past two years, meeting with victims and anti-trafficking activists to develop the comprehensive solutions before my committee. The good news is that we’ve come to many of the same conclusions about what we need to do.

“We will be holding hearings on the latest Senate legislation on Tuesday and Wednesday next week and it is encouraging to know that we have partners in the House and in the attorney general’s office to help get this legislation done by the end of the year.”

In September, Emmons, R-Sheridan, announced a bipartisan 19-bill package sponsored by 13 senators that included enhancing penalties, criminalizing online solicitations of minors and increasing both training for medical professionals and treatment for victims.

Senate Bill 584, sponsored by Emmons, would eliminate the statute of limitations for any human trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation of children offenses. The bill is named the Theresa Flores Act in honor of Theresa Flores, a Michigan native and the author of The Slave Across the Street, her personal story about how she overcame human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar global criminal enterprise that is devastating the lives of thousands of Michigan women and children every year,” Emmons said. “As a mother and grandmother, it is particularly alarming to me that two of every three victims are female and 80 percent of victims are exploited sexually — with 40 percent of cases involving the sexual exploitation of a child. That is why I have made it my personal mission to protect our children from the devastating impact of human trafficking.”

Emmons first called attention to human trafficking by introducing Senate Bill 205 in February and going across the state raising public awareness, including hosting a Human Trafficking 101 Forum in March and the Human Trafficking Legislative Day at the Capitol in May and leading a book tour and discussion with Flores during the summer.

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