Thursday, 18 January 2018 09:09

New law would tighten existing laws covering human trafficking violations Featured

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AUGUSTA - A proposed new law would tighten the state's laws covering human trafficking violations.

The bill's sponsor said this effort is another step toward protecting the victims of traffickers.

 

If this proposal gets approval from the legislature and the governor, state law will mirror federal law. So that our local authorities can prosecute issues with forced labor more easily.

 

Human trafficking is more than sex trafficking.

 

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Amy Volk, R - Scarborough, said "Forced labor is obviously is a form of human trafficking. We hear a lot about sex trafficking, but labor trafficking is also a big issue."

 

People often question whether human trafficking is really a problem in this state of only 1.3 million people.

 

"Some parts of our state are less than five hours from New York State. Do you think it's a problem in New York City? Then it's a problem here, because where do you think they're going to recruit people from?" added Senator Volk.

 

Many trafficking survivors said their criminal records should be erased. One such person stated "We are not sex workers. We are victims. And we are survivors. Vacate our charges."

 

And Senator Volk said there was an effort in the legislature last year that would have wiped clean a criminal record of a human trafficking victim. However, that effort clashed with the governor's authority to issue a pardon.