This year thousands of Catholic advocates stood up for the voiceless and asked the Pennsylvania legislature to toughen laws against human traffickers. On July 2, Governor Tom Corbett signed Senate Bill 75 into law, which will make it easier for law enforcement to prosecute traffickers, enshrines a comprehensive definition of human trafficking into law and provides tools to help combat this modern day slavery.
Now a national anti-human trafficking group has taken notice.
The Polaris Project is an organization that runs the 24-hour national human trafficking resource hotline (1-888-373-7888) and advocates for public policy that helps victims and prosecutes traffickers.
The Polaris Project has named Pennsylvania one of the most improved states in acknowledgement of passing SB 75. Improvements were made in the areas of sex trafficking statutes, labor trafficking, investigative tools, posting of signs with information about the national human trafficking hotline number and victim assistance services. You can read Polaris’ detailed review of Pennsylvania law here.
This worldwide form of modern day enslavement sees men and women (mostly women) used and traded as objects through sex slavery, prostitution, illegal labor practices or other forms of exploitation. Between 2008 and 2012, the national human trafficking reporting hotline saw a 259% increases in calls. This issue, while unimaginable to some, is taking place in the United States and right here in Pennsylvania.
Pope Francis has used strong language to describe human trafficking, calling it a crime against humanity, a scourge and an open wound in contemporary society.
Pennsylvania was one of 37 states to pass tougher laws to combat human trafficking, and that is in part because of your advocacy efforts. Thank your legislator for voting against human trafficking by clicking here.