LANSING—The FBI recently announced that 16 children, some as young as age 13, were rescued from human trafficking in a sting that targeted alleged traffickers who brought in child prostitutes for the Super Bowl. More than 45 pimps and their associates were arrested in the operation.
“Human Trafficking has a life-altering effect on thousands of women and children in Michigan and nationwide and this rescue illustrates just how prevalent this crime is in America,” said Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan. “We love the Super Bowl and the Detroit auto show, yet sadly, they are examples of major gatherings of people that are lucrative targets for traffickers. The best way to eliminate the problem is by increasing awareness and ending demand.”
Six months leading up the Super Bowl, the FBI worked with state and local law enforcement agencies to combat child prostitution, including contacting hotels in the New York City area on how to identify victims of human trafficking.
Last month, Emmons joined advocates Theresa Flores and Anny Donewald in Detroit to help educate people about human trafficking and teamed up with S.O.A.P. (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution) for its 3rd Annual Detroit Auto Show Outreach.
S.O.A.P. delivered soap bars with the human trafficking hotline number to area hotels in advance of the North American International Auto Show. Flores developed the initiative to publicize the toll-free number that can be called by victims of trafficking and those who observe incidences that point to trafficking taking place. The hotline number is 1-888-3737-888.
“As the point-person in the Michigan Senate on human trafficking, I know that while we are approving initiatives for new laws and victim support, the battle against this crime all starts with increasing public awareness,” Emmons said. “I applaud the FBI and all the law enforcement agencies involved in the comprehensive effort that resulted in the rescue of 16 children and the arrest of nearly four dozen traffickers.”
Residents who are interested in learning more about human trafficking, including how to identify and report it, may watch an informative video on Emmons’ website at: www.senatorjudyemmons.com/human-trafficking.