Bill would “level playing field” in human trafficking cases

Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan ranks seventh nationally in reports of human trafficking, and a lawmaker wants to give prosecutors more tools to combat those crimes. Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, has introduced a bill that would allow certified experts to testify about telltale signs of deviant social behavior demonstrated by human trafficking victims.
Bringing in experts to testify about a victim’s behavior allows judges and juries to receive informed opinion that the victim has, in fact, been subject to human trafficking. Human trafficking is defined as forcing or deceiving a person to perform labor or a commercial sex act, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline website, which is run by Polaris, a nonprofit group fighting slavery. “It’s an epidemic,” Lucido said, of people buying other people. “We know why they’re buying them, but who are the people buying them?” Lucido said.

Health workers to be trained to spot human trafficking

Capital News Service
LANSING — Criminals who sell victims for sex or labor leave marks that are rarely noticeable to the average person, but doctors and nurses have a unique advantage to spot these red flags and intervene — if they are properly trained. This training requirement, to spot and properly respond to patients who show signs of human trafficking, was implemented by Michigan legislation that took effect in January. Under the new law, the state Department of Community Health, with a consulting board, will establish standards to train healthcare professionals in identifying and reporting human trafficking. Within two years, this training will be added to requirements for anyone licensed or registered under the public health code. This legislation comes from growing recognition that human trafficking is a problem throughout Michigan.