LANSING — A resolution offered by state Rep. Tom Cochran (D-Mason) naming January 2018 Human Trafficking Awareness Month in the state of Michigan was adopted by the Michigan House of Representatives this week. The adoption of the resolution coincides with stepped up efforts to combat human trafficking in the Metro Detroit area during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, a time when law enforcement tends to see increased human trafficking activity annually.
“When we hear the phrase ‘human trafficking,’ we should think ‘slavery,’ because that is what it is,” Rep. Cochran said. “Here in our state, men, women, and children are being forced into prostitution, domestic servitude, and other labor for little or no pay. Just a few months ago, a man in Ingham County — in my own district — was trafficking a minor online. It’s happening here. We need to become more aware of the issue so we can come up with some more solutions.”
Human trafficking activity often spikes during major events, such as the auto show going on this month, which is why the Detroit Commission on Human Trafficking and Detroit Police Department are increasing efforts to stop trafficking and protect victims. Last year during the auto show, 22 human trafficking arrests were made.
Anyone who knows of an individual that needs help related to human trafficking is urged to call (888) 373-7888 or text “info” or “help” to 233733 (BeFree).
“The state of Michigan has taken the issue of human trafficking seriously in recent years, and I’m proud to have been part of the effort to pass new laws that aggressively go after human traffickers while also shielding survivors and helping them to recover,” Rep. Cochran said. “My hope is that more people will learn about what human trafficking is, and how it might be existing in their community, so that they can inform law enforcement if they know of it happening nearby.”
To view a video of Rep. Cochran introducing his resolution, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9_6mJGODKk.