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Proos: Michigan’s first Human Trafficking Awareness Day to take place Jan. 11

Published 6:33pm Thursday, January 9, 2014

LANSING — In an effort to inform people about human trafficking, its life-altering effect on thousands of women and children and how prevalent it is in our state, Michigan will hold its first Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Saturday, Jan. 11.

The day was designated through a Senate resolution co-sponsored by Sen. John Proos and adopted in December.

“Human Trafficking Awareness Day is about opening people’s eyes to the second fastest growing crime in the world and how it is devastating thousands of lives each year in hometowns throughout Michigan,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I co-sponsored this day of awareness because the secretive nature of human trafficking and an insufficient amount of public education about the issue make this a tough fight. Our best chance to end this modern-day slavery is to empower victims to seek help and inform all citizens about what they can do to combat this terrible crime.”

Senate adoption of Senate Resolution 105 happened on the same day the chamber approved Proos’ legislation to help support victims of human trafficking by enabling them to clear certain criminal records.

“I encourage all Southwest Michigan residents to honor Human Trafficking Awareness Day by taking a moment to learn more about human trafficking,” Proos said. “I also offer my support and prayers to all trafficking victims and their families, especially those who have not yet been found or are too afraid to come forward. This day is about supporting victims and working toward a time when there are no more victims.”

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette formed the Michigan Commission on Human Trafficking in 2013 to combat the growing problem. Michigan ranks seventh in the nation in frequency of trafficking.

“Human trafficking exacts an incredible cost for the victims and their families, and with bipartisan support from both the Senate and the House along with the help of Attorney General Schuette, we are bringing awareness to the situation and introducing legislation to put a stop to it,” Proos said. “It is an effort that will not be won overnight, but it is a fight worth winning.”

Information about human trafficking, including how to identify and report it, is available on the attorney general’s website at: www.michigan.gov/humantrafficking.

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