By NICK STANEK
Capital News Service
LANSING – House lawmakers recently approved a bill that would enhance penalties against sex traffickers, raising fines for brothel keepers from $2,500 to $5,000. The law also extends a 20-year jail sentence to anyone caught trying to recruit prostitutes into the sex trade. The bill was unopposed and is part of a series of bills to change how victims of sex trafficking are treated, said Rep. Joseph Graves, R-Argentine Township. Human rights organizations across the state are pushing to shift the focus of sex crimes from victims.
“There needs to be a paradigm shift in the way prostitution cases are treated,” said Bridgette Carr, the director of the Human Trafficking Law Clinic in Ann Arbor. “The law treats [prostitutes] as criminals but the reality is, they are victims of sexual abuse.”
Carr said law enforcement lacks the resources that victims of sex crimes need to treat them as victims instead of criminals.