More than 100 Michigan residents came to Lansing on Thursday to participate in the Human Trafficking Legislative Day at the Capitol, hosted by Sen. Judy Emmons and her fellow women state senators.
“This bipartisan event was about raising awareness of human trafficking in Michigan and its devastating impact on the lives of thousands of women and children,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. “Senators Schuitmaker, Whitmer, Warren and I joined together today to help stop the exploitation of women and children by educating the public about the seriousness of this problem and how they can play a critical role in ending human trafficking.
“The turnout from Michigan residents was amazing – with participants filling the Senate gallery during session and nearly filling the Senate’s largest hearing room for a panel discussion.”
Joining Emmons in hosting the legislative day were Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton; Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor; and Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing.
Participants began the day with a 9:30 a.m. reception at the Capitol to meet the senators and watched Senate session from the gallery, during which they were officially recognized by the senators. The group then moved to the Senate Hearing Room for a panel discussion on the legislative process and finished the day with a viewing of Sex + Money, a documentary on human trafficking.
Susan Avery, executive director of the Michigan Women’s Commission and one of the day’s panelists, echoed Emmons’ comments about the turnout.
“This is a very important issue for the state of Michigan and we are extremely proud that so many people are interested in raising awareness of human trafficking in Michigan,” said Avery.
“Michigan is not immune to the devastating crime of human trafficking,” Emmons said. “In fact, we are on the front line of this criminal industry, which is second only to illegal drugs. With up to 150 girls under age 18 being sold into sex trafficking every month in Michigan, it is an enormous problem that will take a comprehensive approach to solve. We are working on new laws, victim support and enforcement tools, but it all starts with the people.”
Emmons encouraged residents to contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline toll-free, 24-hours-a-day at 1-888-3737-888 to report a potential case of human trafficking.
Residents with ideas for legislation to address human trafficking may also contact Emmons’ office by calling toll-free at 1-866-305-2133 or via email at SenJEmmons@senate.michigan.gov.
Editor’s Note: Print-quality photographs are available by visiting Emmons’ website at www.SenatorJudyEmmons.com. Click on “Photowire.”