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Collins: Human trafficking is hiding in plain sight

collins 013120CHICAGO – As an international transportation hub, Chicago is a major venue for one illicit industry: Human trafficking.

Targeting victims who often have tenuous legal status or are otherwise without resources, human trafficking often goes unreported unless concerned citizens discover it and act to inform the authorities. As Human Trafficking Awareness Month comes to a close, State Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) announced legislation that would expand awareness training to include more types of service jobs in Illinois, giving employees the tools to spot and report human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is industrialized kidnapping and modern-day slavery,” Collins said. “By expanding this training program, we are empowering more citizens to know when and how to step forward and do the right thing. These crimes against humanity are hiding in plain sight here in Illinois, and we must all be vigilant.”

In Illinois, the Department of Human Services is developing training on how to spot the signs of human trafficking and report them to authorities. Once developed, employers in the hotel and motel industries will be required to periodically provide the training to employees. Collins’ legislation would expand that training requirement to include restaurants and truck stops as well.

“This is especially urgent at a time when Illinois has committed to expanding gambling, which promotes the sort of travel and rise in entertainment and hospitality that can create the conditions that human traffickers seek to exploit,” Collins said. “By doing this, we’re giving working people the power to fight crime that enslaves people and undercuts law-abiding business.”

Collins’ legislation has been drafted and awaits consideration in the Illinois Senate.

Collins joins Chicago mayor in welcoming kids back to school

collins school 090519Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) joined Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday for a brief ceremony welcoming students back to school at the new, $85 million STEM high school in Englewood.

Community members and the media attended to watch Lightfoot cut the ribbon at the ceremony and help ring the starting bell on the new school. The neighborhood school will focus on instructing students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. About 400 freshman students will make up the graduating class of 2024.

Collins and Flowers’ plan to fight maternal and infant mortality signed into law

Mother and childSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Collins issued the following statement today as Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law the remaining pieces of legislation in a plan by her and State Rep. Mary Flowers to reduce rising infant and maternal mortality rates:

“It’s fitting that this action comes the day after Black Women’s Equal Pay Day and mere days before Women’s Equality Day, because this is another stark reminder of how systemic bias harms not only women, but the many lives that a woman’s life touches,” Collins said. “When women of color’s medical concerns are ignored, their families pay the price.”

Program to aid foreign-born victims of human trafficking extended

collins 052919SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Collins issued the following statement as Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law her measure, House Bill 2118, continuing a program to provide government assistance to foreign-born victims of trafficking, torture or other serious crimes”

“Whether flying into O’Hare or driving across I-72, we play host to many people passing through, not just from other states, but from around the world. That means that we bear some responsibility as citizens of the world,” Collins said. “When we travel, we hope that we encounter a good Samaritan should misfortune befall us. We can do no less than the same for other travelers here. I applaud the governor’s action today.”

The law extends the sunset date on a program to provide government assistance to foreign-born victims of trafficking, torture or other serious crimes from June 30 of this year to June 30 of 2022.

Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins

Deputy Majority Caucus Chair
16th Senate District

Years served:
2003 - Present

Committee assignments: Financial Institutions (Chairperson); Insurance; Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital (TR).

Biography: Born in McComb, Miss.; grew up in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Studied journalism at Northwestern University and graduated from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Divinity Schoool. Emmy Award-nominated news editor at CBS-TV in Chicago and 2001 Legislative Fellow with U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Recipient in 2011 of a Lifetime Achievement Award for Financial Literacy Leadership from the Illinois state treasurer.

Associated Representatives:
Mary E. Flowers
André Thapedi