To paraphrase former first lady and the first U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, Eleanor Roosevelt, human rights begin in small places, close to home. In that spirit, the U.S. State Department would like to share important information about the Universal Periodic Review, or UPR, a major international human rights mechanism in which every U.N. member state participates, and invite state government officials to join public consultations that are part of this process.

During The Council of State Governments’ eCademy webcast, “Human Trafficking—How States are Responding,” panelists discussed legislation, task forces and funding to combat human trafficking at the state level.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which people, often children, are forced into sex work or other labor. The Polaris Project, a nonprofit organization that works to combat human trafficking, estimates that the number of adults and children being forced into labor in the United States numbers in the...

Human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery, is a multibillion dollar, worldwide industry and one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises. The Polaris Project estimates that the number of adults and children being held and forced into labor in the United States numbers in the hundreds of thousands. States have taken action, however, setting up task forces to assess the extent of human trafficking and experimenting with policies to encourage reporting, train law enforcement personnel and increase the criminal penalties for perpetrators.

In the weeks leading up to Super Bowl 50 last month, law enforcement officials found 42 potential human trafficking victims through a series of stings. At least two were under the age of 18, according to CBS San Francisco news affiliate 5KPIX. Human trafficking is a fast-growing global issue with a reach that impacts every state in the country. In 2012, the United Nation’s International Labour Organization, or ILO, estimated that there are 21 million victims of human trafficking all across the world, forced into labor or commercial sex work. Experts suggest it is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world—just behind the international drug trade—netting an estimated $150 billion each year, according to the ILO.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments will work with States and with their federal counterparts—at the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of State—to combat human trafficking; and

The UAPRHT is a comprehensive law directed against human trafficking. It provides the three components necessary for ending human trafficking: comprehensive criminal penalties; protections for human-trafficking victims; and public awareness and prevention methods.

The Act allows non-violent crimes committed by victims of human trafficking to be expunged. Victims charged with non-violent offenses may make a motion in the court to expunge the offense after 60 days of being charged. If the court finds that the offense occurred because the individual was a victim of human trafficking the charges may be dismissed with prejudice.

Human trafficking is often described as a form of modern-day slavery through which individuals are exploited through force, fraud or coercion for labor service or commercial sex acts. State legislatures are leading the response to this fast-growing crime, according to Britanny Vanderhoof, policy counsel for the Polaris Project, a national anti-human trafficking advocacy organization. “States have really taken up the issue of human trafficking as a state issue,” she said during a recent webinar, “Human Trafficking: State Responses to Modern-Day Slavery,” presented by CSG South.

Human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery whereby children and adults are exploited through force or coercion for sex acts or manual labor, is purported to be a multi-billion-dollar worldwide industry and one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises. The U.S. Department of State estimates that there are approximately 40,000 men, women and children who become victims of human trafficking in the United States every year. States have taken action, setting up task forces to assess the extent of this insidious practice and experimenting with policies to encourage reporting, train law enforcement personnel and increase the criminal penalties for perpetrators. 

Stateline Midwest

Over the past year, in nearly every Midwestern state, legislatures have passed new laws to address the problem of human trafficking.

Pages