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Sen. Judy Emmons speaks on human trafficking in Michigan at Capitol Issues Forum 4/14

Michigan is ranked fifth nationally in human trafficking and many are becoming increasingly aware that the issue is statewide, according to Sen. Judy Emmons (R-Sheridan)during an April 14 presentation at Capitol Issues Forum.

Human trafficking is affecting more areas than just Detroit, Flint and Mackinac and Sen. Emmons is actively working to pass additional legislation regarding the crime.

Emmons has been successful in expanding the statute of limitations for such crimes to 25 years, compared to the previous six year limit. Emmons is determining ways to better equip law enforcement to prosecute traffickers, rescue victims and assist survivors. Emmons said this will be done through training for law enforcement, judges and lawyers, as well as developing treatment centers for survivors of the crime.

Emmons also highlighted the importance of parental supervision, especially for young children who have access to smartphones and the Internet. She says traffickers use electronic applications such as the WHISPER app or Snap Chat as tools to lure children. With so many new apps being created, Emmons said it is critical for parents to monitor what their child is downloading and ensure they know how to safely use the app.

The next challenge facing Emmons is how she will pass legislation that will generate revenue to fund the fight against human trafficking in Michigan. The revenue portion of legislation is critical and Emmons is confident she can gain support from both parties to pass such legislation.

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