Sen. Judy Emmons has been asked by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville to lead the effort in raising public awareness of human trafficking in Michigan.
“I am deeply honored to be given the task of shining a light on human trafficking in Michigan,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. “One of the greatest barriers to overcome in the fight against human trafficking is public awareness. Most people think of it as a third-world crime that only happens overseas, but in reality it’s happening in hometowns like Grand Rapids and Cleveland.”
Schuette appointed Emmons as chair of the Public Awareness Subcommittee for the Michigan Commission on Human Trafficking, and Richardville directed that all human trafficking bills will go through the Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee, chaired by Emmons.
“While I serve on the commission, I am also working to combat human trafficking as the point-person in the Senate,” Emmons said. “I have held forums and educational events with national advocacy groups and workgroups with lawmakers. With up to 150 girls being sold into sex trafficking monthly in Michigan, it is a problem that will require a comprehensive solution. We are working on new laws, training and victim support, but it all starts with awareness.”
Emmons hosted a Human Trafficking 101 Forum in March and the Human Trafficking Legislative Day at the Capitol on May 2. Emmons is also leading Senate workgroups on legislation and expects multiple legislative measures to be introduced this fall.
“I am focused on looking at every option in determining how we best create awareness about these crimes throughout the state,” Emmons said. “To ensure we leave no stone unturned, I encourage residents to contact my office with any suggestions they may have.”
Residents with awareness or legislative ideas may call Emmons’ office at 517-373-3760 or by sending an email to SenJEmmons@senate.michigan.gov.
Emmons also urged residents who suspect a case of trafficking to contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline toll-free, 24-hours-a-day at 1-888-3737-888 to report it.
“Human Trafficking is the world’s second-largest and fastest-growing criminal industry and the only chance we have to ending it in Michigan is if everyone — from law enforcement officials to concerned neighbors — understands the problem and what they can do,” Emmons said. “The most direct way for people to help is by calling the hotline if something doesn’t seem right.”