State officials hold conference on human trafficking
By Kevin Lavery, WKAR News
Okemos, MI – Human services advocates in Michigan are reviewing their efforts to stop human trafficking in the state. Officials held a statewide conference on the issue Friday in Okemos.
Officials say human trafficking is the second largest crime in terms of scope in the world. It's estimated that as many as 17-thousand-500 people from mainly Africa and Central America are trafficked into Michigan as forced laborers and sex slaves. Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force director Jane White says even though the state has laws on the books, she knows of no case ever prosecuted in Michigan.
"When I say that, I'm talking about human trafficking," says White. "We can charge other kinds of crimes. But that's what we see most often; the point of human trafficking is missed."
In the last three years, Michigan human service workers have helped about 80 refugee minors in the state who were victims of trafficking. That program is the largest of its kind in the country.