LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Sen. Gary Peters introduced a bill on Tuesday that aims to combats human trafficking.
Peters, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the legislation would enhance the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to curb human trafficking.
The legislation would expand the Homeland Security Investigations Victim Assistance Program, a program that helps provide support to individuals impacted by human trafficking.
The bill would also make permanent an existing program that aids employees and partners of Homeland Security Investigations who are exposed to repeated stress and trauma through their investigative work.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, traffickers may employ violence, manipulation or false promises of jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.
The Polaris Project, a data-driven nonprofit that conducts research to help prevent human trafficking, said there were at least 14,597 sex trafficking victims and survivors in the United States.
The scope of human trafficking crimes can be difficult to estimate because these crimes often go unreported.
“Human trafficking not only leaves deep traumatic scars on its victims, but also on dedicated professionals who are charged with investigating these crimes and helping people recover from them,” said Sen. Peters in a press release. “This bipartisan legislation will help provide a path to recovery and stability for victims of human trafficking. It will also ensure that Homeland Security Investigations agents, victim assistance specialists, and others who work with victims have the support they need to continue fighting back against human traffickers.”