Monday, January 24, 2011

Vermont Lawmakers Tackle Human Trafficking - News Story - WPTZ Plattsburgh

Report: Sexual Exploitation and Forced Labor Are Growing Problems

POSTED: 5:05 pm EST January 21, 2011
UPDATED: 5:39 pm EST January 21, 2011

Legislators gathered at the Statehouse Friday to discuss ways to stop human trafficking."There are more slaves today than any other time in the history of the World," said James Dold with the Polaris Project, a national human trafficking resource center.

The problem of mainly woman and children being forced into labor or sexual servitude is a global problem that even reaches into Vermont."Sadly it has reached Vermont borders from international crime rings passing through places like New York and Montreal," said Rep. Kesha Ram (D-Burlington).
Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell released a report detailing ways to fight it."We need to have much more public awareness of the issue," Sorrell said.The Attorney General hopes Vermonters will report suspected cases, like the ones police discovered at massage parlors in Williston and Essex in 2004.
"Vermont now joins the states that will pass a specific statue that involves potential civil penalties and criminal penalties for violations of human trafficking," Sorrell said.Lawmakers said it isn't only important to make sure those who are conducting this modern day form of slavery are prosecuted, but it is equally important to make sure criminals are protected.
"They need to treat victims as victims and offer them help," Ram said. "The only thing worse I can think than to have to do these things, is the trauma and shame for being treated as a criminal for having done them."
Vermont Lawmakers Tackle Human Trafficking - News Story - WPTZ Plattsburgh
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