Human trafficking is the second-largest criminal industry in the world that devastates the lives of thousands of adults and children each year with a third of cases involving the sexual exploitation of a child.
Senate Bill 1213 would make the solicitation of a minor age 16 or 17 to commit prostitution or any other lewd or immoral act a felony punishable by imprisonment of up to five years, a fine of not more than $10,000 or both.
This crackdown targets the source of the problem: The person soliciting the prostitute, which results in thousands of women and children being sexually exploited – often against their will.
The bill would ensure that anyone attempting to exploit a child receives a severe punishment that fits the severe impact of their crime.
Human trafficking has occurred if a person was induced to perform labor or a commercial sex act through force, fraud or coercion. However, anyone under the age of 18 who performs a commercial sex act is considered a victim regardless of force, fraud or coercion.
While we don’t often think about this terrible crime happening in our great state, unfortunately it does. That is why Michigan’s human trafficking laws were strengthened in 2010.
In March, Attorney General Bill Schuette secured the first conviction under the new laws. A 32-year-old Detroit man was convicted on 8 counts for enslaving two girls age 14 and 15 and forcing them to engage in prostitution. Currently, six defendants are facing human trafficking charges right here in Michigan.
If you are a victim of human trafficking or if you know someone who may need help, please contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.
For more information about human trafficking visit the attorney general’s website at: http://www.michigan.gov/ag. Click on “human trafficking.”