The 2011 Maryland Legislative Session ends on April 11th and your help is needed to help move several important human trafficking bills before it is too late! These important bills will clamp down on the brutal crime of human trafficking, help victims, provide new investigative tools to law enforcement and increase the penalties for human traffickers. But your help is needed to urge the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to move these bills forward!
There are several ways to help. In fact, a 30 second phone call to your legislators can make an incredible difference. You can find out who your legislators are HERE (be sure to click the box for House of Delegates and State Senate). The names of your senator and your 2-3 delegates will appear on the left hand side.
Here are the bills:
Human trafficking is committed for one reason: profit. This legislation provides for the forfeiture of assets derived from or used in connection with human trafficking activity. Proceeds from the assets are directed into the newly created Anti-Human Trafficking Fund, for grants to law enforcement and victim service organizations to respond to human trafficking. In 2010 and in 2011 this bill passed the full Senate unanimously. In the House, however, the Chair of the Judiciary Committee refused to bring it to a vote in 2010, and without strong support from the public he may do the same this year.
- SB 299 and HB 345 - Human Trafficking – Investigations
This bill will add human trafficking to the list of exceptions to the one party consent law to allow wiretapping and electronic surveillance during a human trafficking investigation. Crimes now excluded from the ban on wiretapping include child pornography, rape, and murder, among others.
- SB 327 and HB 266 - Human Trafficking Victims Support Act (2 parts)
Vacating Convictions would provide for the removal of any convictions for commercial sex for anyone later found to be a victim of human trafficking under state or federal law.
Restitution to provide courts with the authority to order that a defendant pay out his gains from labor or sex trafficking to the victim, or compensate the claimant for his or her losses.
- HB 674 - Education - Human Trafficking - Awareness, Training, and Distribution of Materials
This bill will require the State Department of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, to provide awareness and training for the Directors of Student Services in local education agencies on human trafficking. This important bill will help educators and school employees to better recognize the signs of human trafficking.
- HN 1304 - Human Trafficking in Truckstops
This legislation will require rest areas and truck stops in Maryland, key locations for sex trafficking crimes, to post the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline (888-3737-888) in bathrooms, so victims may access help and tipsters can report anything they find, confidentially, 24 hours a day.
Photo Credit: M.V. Jantzen
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