Juveniles should not be made victims twice
The House Committee on Criminal Justice today approved legislation introduced by state Rep. Gary Howell to offer a second chance to people who were forced into human trafficking crimes while they were juveniles.
Rep. Howell, R-North Branch, is the author of House Bill 5543, which he says will give people forced to commit crimes as juveniles due to human trafficking a fresh start by enabling them to seek cleansing of their criminal records.
“It is vital that these young people be given a new chance in the wake of being used, unwillingly, by human traffickers while they were juveniles,” Rep. Howell said. “They should not be deprived of a successful future by something they were forced to do in their teenage years. Doing that would victimize them all over again.”
Other measures in the three-bill package pertain to juvenile convictions and greater penalties in sex trafficking cases and were introduced by state Rep. Laura Cox, R-Livonia, and state Rep. Nancy Jenkins, R-Clayton.
“The Legislature is cracking down on human trafficking and making it a priority to end this heinous crime,” Rep. Howell said. “Our legislation will help ease the pain brought on by the use on young people in this criminal enterprise.”
The bills now go to the full House for consideration.
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