WUOMFM

Human trafficking bills expected to clear state Legislature this week

Oct 1, 2014

Bills meant to fight human trafficking in Michigan are on track to clear the state Legislature before the end of this week.

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The bipartisan legislation would make it easier to prosecute human trafficking cases, increase penalties, and provide more services for victims. The state House passed several bills in the package on Wednesday.

“The bottom line is we want to eradicate human trafficking from Michigan,” said state Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth Twp., who is spearheading the legislation in the House. “And we want to show the criminals that we’re going to come after them and we’re going to kick them out and we don’t want this stuff going on in our state.”

Legislative leaders want to pass the bills before the end of this week. That is when lawmakers break for a month to campaign for the November election.

“It’s one of those things that has stayed under the radar screen for so long,” said state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe. “And now that we’re actually doing something about it, I want people to pay attention and get it done.”

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has been pushing for the changes. He and Heise co-chaired the first Michigan Commission on Human Trafficking last year.