Every year, human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing thousands of people here in the United States. Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world. In 2010 alone, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline received more than 11,000 calls with tips of potential cases of human trafficking, requests for information, and referrals.
Last year, a Vermont man was caught violently assaulting a massage parlor worker in Burlington, leading to the discovery of a sex slavery ring. Korean women had been smuggled into the United States via Canada, and forced to work as prostitutes in a massage parlor that was a front for a brothel. This criminal activity inside Vermont massage parlors has long been known to authorities, with a Chittenden County operation in 2004 busting several parlors full of victims of trafficking.
Vermont is one of only a few states with no law against human trafficking! Due to the clandestine nature of human trafficking, the physical and psychological trauma of victims that make many reluctant to testify, and the inability of federal law enforcement to investigate every case, comprehensive laws in every state are needed. Vermont legislators can take a step toward eradicating human trafficking in Vermont by passing S. 45.
Senate Bill 45 recently passed the house, and is currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill would create new human trafficking crimes and penalties; provide for mandatory restitution to victims; allow victims to sue their traffickers; require employers in Vermont to post the national human trafficking hotline; create a plan for the delivery of services to victims; and provide victims with other important protections.
Please help support this legislation by calling your state representatives and telling them to vote YES on S. 45!
Please visit Polaris Project's Take Action page for more information.
Thank you for your support!
(Photo courtesy of Putneypics from Flickr Creative Commons)