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'Human trafficking' bills moving through Michigan legislature

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio
Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, (at podium) announces a new package of bills aimed at curbing human trafficking in Michigan.

There are dozens of bills before the Michigan Legislature dealing with human trafficking.  

Another 23 bills were unveiled today as part of a package dealing with forced labor and prostitution.

Kurt Heise is the chairman of the House Criminal Justice Committee. He says the bills introduced this week not only go after the pimps and johns but also acknowledges the needs of the victims.

“We look at the young people and the vulnerable adults who are trafficked as victims and that they get the love and support that we can provide,” says Heise.

There aren’t any hard numbers to say how big the problem of human trafficking is in Michigan.

“As people learn more about the issue of human trafficking they are able to see it more,” says Kelly Carter, an assistant attorney general, “So I don’t think the instances have necessarily grown, I think the recognition of the crime has grown.”

Human trafficking bills are on the legislative fast track. In addition to the bills in the state House, the Senate has been working on its own package of human trafficking bills since last fall. 

The House sponsor of many of the bills hopes to have them on the governor’s desk by this summer.   

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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