Several bills targeting human trafficking pass House committees

Several bills targeting human trafficking pass House committees
Pine Belt Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force working to diminish human trafficking and save victims (Source: wdam)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Lawmakers considered four bills that would bring awareness and fight human trafficking.

The bills were brought up Wednesday during the legislative session. Two of the bills would require health care workers and new commercial drivers to go through human trafficking training.

Rep. Merika Coleman, D-Birmingham, and Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, sponsored the proposed legislation.

“What we are trying to do is provide education to various industries that can be the first responders when it comes to human trafficking,” Coleman said. “Often times those traffic victims are at truck stops and they see and recognize who the victims are."

The third bill allow law enforcement to publish pictures of those purchasing prostitution. The goal is to deter people from participating in the crime.

The last bill increases the penalties for certain buildings that don’t have human trafficking hotline posters. Currently violators receive a warning and a $25 fine. This bill would increase the fine to $250 for the first violation and $2,500 for the second violation.

“We’ve had over 200 cases in the state of Alabama since 2015 and that’s only from the hotline we established. That’s it,” Coleman said. “That’s all of those that have called in. Look at those we could be missing.”

Below is a look at the different bills:

HB 260: Requires health care workers to go through human trafficking training. The County would get training on victim identification and how to care for suspected survivors. (This bill had a public hearing and did not have a vote. There could be a vote next week).

HB 261: Requires trade schools of junior colleges offering some truck driving courses to provide training on noticing, preventing and reporting human trafficking.

HB 262: Makes it legal to publish the picture of someone arrested for soliciting or purchasing prostitution after they are arrested.

HB 264: Increases the fine for certain establishments failing to post human trafficking hotline information.

The bills will now head to the House for a full vote.

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