With this year’s Super Bowl in the history books, it’s a good time to turn up our efforts to stop human trafficking, a $32 billion industry estimated to affect 300,000 children in the United States alone.
Although there’s some uncertainty about whether the Super Bowl is the biggest day of the year for human traffickers, there is no doubt that large events attract those who deal in slavery. So today, the Monday after the Super Bowl, take a minute to call your State Representative (contact info below) to encourage them to strengthen Pennsylvania’s laws against human trafficking by supporting SB 75.
Know the Basic Facts:
Before you talk to others about human trafficking, it can be helpful to know basic facts about the issue.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Victims of trafficking are exploited for commercial sex or labor purposes through force, fraud, or coercion.
According to an annual report conducted by the Polaris Project, Pennsylvania lacks the laws necessary to effectively prosecute traffickers and protect victims.
Anyone can become a victim of human trafficking – men, women, and children. In a recent study conducted by the US Department of Health & Human Services analyzing the background of domestic victims of trafficking, victims came from ALL socio-economic groups in the United States.
(You can find more info at the Polaris Project, http://www.polarisproject.org/)
Right now you can make a brief call of support for SB 75 to your state representative. The Bucks County Representatives and their phone numbers are listed below. You can be sure which Representative is yours by checking here.
At the national level, the United States has strong laws to prosecute traffickers and protect victims of trafficking. However, at the state level, Pennsylvania does not have strong laws or resources to prosecute offenders or protect victims.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is currently considering a very important anti-trafficking bill, Senate Bill 75, that will help to change the situation in our state and members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly need to hear from community members – like you – about why it’s so important to pass this bill.
Background on Senate Bill 75:
Senate Bill 75 was introduced in January of 2013 by Senator Greenleaf. The core content of this bill comes from over two years of work by a state advisory committee, which was brought together to assess and respond to human trafficking in Pennsylvania.
In January 2013, the bill was voted out of the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary committee. At this time, a collaborative and comprehensive amendment process was undertaken to further strengthen the bill’s provisions to better protect victims, prosecute offenders, and prevent human trafficking from happening in the first place. The anti-trafficking advocate and service provider communities were actively engaged in the amendment process, working closely with Senate staff and a wide variety of stakeholders, including government agencies and law enforcement, to develop a strong and effective amendment to SB 75.
The amended bill was then voted on by the Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations committee and then by the full Senate, passing 50-0 on Tuesday, December 10, 2013. The bill has now moved to the Pennsylvania House and has been assigned to the House Judiciary committee for consideration. Because the bill originated in the Senate, it will keep its name, Senate Bill 75, as it is considered in the House.
How to Help:
Make that call and ask your friends to do the same! Now that Senate Bill 75 is under consideration by the Pennsylvania House, we need your help contacting State Representatives to ask them to support Senate Bill 75.