A state task force says a new approach is needed to address human trafficking in Michigan – and the most important part is not treating victims as criminals.
The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta has more.
The report says minors who have been sold for sex or cheap labor should never be charged with prostitution, delinquency, vagrancy, or any other crime. But Bridgette Carr of the Human Trafficking Clinic at U of M says it’s not just a matter of changing laws.
“How can we get them into that category of victim and out of that category of criminal?” she says.
Carr says that means training law enforcement and early responders to help victims get services instead of taking them to a detention center. The recommendations also call for tougher penalties such as seizing assets of traffickers and their customers.
But advocates say the main focus needs to be on helping victims, not prosecutions.
Hearings in the Legislature on human trafficking are already underway.