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Pimps and traffickers face tougher penalties under new laws

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Governor Rick Snyder has approved new laws to make it easier to prosecute pimps and human traffickers. The legislation is supposed to protect victims of human trafficking from criminal charges. One of the new laws shields children who are trafficked from prostitution charges. 

Theresa Flores wrote a book about being trafficked as a teenager in metro Detroit. She says protection for victims will encourage them to cooperate with prosecutors to help send traffickers to prison. 

"You see, this law is morally right," Flores said. "It's a gift that we're giving all women and victims of human trafficking by saying, 'We care, and how can we help you.'" 

The new laws also make it easier for trafficking victims to clear their records of prior convictions, and extend the statute of limitations for prosecuting pimps and traffickers. 

"Really changing the dynamic so someone who’s been trafficked doesn’t feel like they’re a criminal," Governor Snyder said, "that they’re actually a survivor of this and that we provide appropriate support and help them be successful in transitioning out of that terrible situation.” 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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