Last week I went to testify at the hearing for the Human Trafficking bill. See the Article in the Providence Journal.
There are two bills, one from Senator Perry that calls for police training and a 16 member oversight committee consisting of people from Day One, D.A.R.E., RI Coalition Against Human Trafficking, Polaris Project, ALCU, The Commission on Women, and possibly a human trafficking victim.
The other bill from Representative Gianinni does not call for any training or any oversight.
I testified in favor for the bill. I hope that Senator Perry’s bill is the one that gets the support with the full house and senate vote. I think that the most important thing in the Trafficking bill is the training. How do we expect the police to identify the victims if they have not been properly trained? We need to set standards for how we will deal with the victims. We need to deal with the victims as victims and not criminals. The day before the hearing on the bill the Providence Journal released a story on a missing Boston teen found in South Providence.
In this article you can see that the teen is a victim of human trafficking, and she was not identified as such. After being found beaten and incoherent, she was brought to the hospital by the police. This 16 year old was then sent to the training school. How is this helping a victim when we send this young, traumatized girl to the youth’s prison? I hope training and oversight will help in these situations. We need to help the victims, and not further victimize them by putting them in prison.