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MCEDSV Welcomes Human Trafficking Reform Bills


As we seek to upend oppression and end domestic and sexual violence, addressing human trafficking is naturally woven into that work. Human trafficking has been accurately referred to as “the business of stealing freedom for profit” ( The conditions for trafficking begin with a similar, unequal power relationship as the conditions for domestic and sexual violence and result in the abuse of power by the perpetrator. To assist DV/SA agencies in serving trafficking survivors, the Coalition recently released its Human Trafficking Toolkit and welcomes requests for training on this topic.

Against this backdrop, MCEDSV applauds the introduction of a multi-bill package that would improve the legal system’s response to trafficking in multiple ways. The package came thanks to the hard work of the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission The package of legislation was introduced in 2020, but unfortunately was not afforded a hearing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and many competing priorities. Fortunately, the package (HBs 4091-4113) was already introduced in the new legislative session.

In particular, MCEDSV welcomes many aspects of the bills that would encourage system actors to focus criminal justice efforts on stopping traffickers, while providing safeguards to victims who have engaged in criminal activity in connection with their victimization. We expect that even the simple change of ending the use of dehumanizing labels such as “common prostitute” will meaningfully enhance survivor outcomes.  The package also expands survivors’ ability to defend against or set aside convictions if a crime was committed in connection with their trafficking victimization—a common method of control used by sex and labor traffickers alike. It would also make it easier for victims to defend themselves from criminal charges associated with their victimization so that they do not end up with a criminal record in the first place. Other bills would facilitate the prosecution of traffickers by providing clear statutory language about the use of expert witnesses. Such experts can be critical to helping juries and judges understand victimization, and MCEDSV has long prioritized increasing training and availability of experts.

To ensure that this important bill package moves through the legislature swiftly this session, we encourage those supporting this legislation to contact their representative and simply expressing “support for the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission package of bills, HB 4091-4113.”  To identify your legislators, use this website: If you would like to contact legislators on behalf of a program, be sure to identify all of the representatives that cover your service area, which may be more than just the representative serving the location of your main office. Please contact us if you would like support in framing your message!;